What is it about?

Given its large scale and devastating impact, it is critical to understand how survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda have fared. This study examines social support, distress disclosure and negative mental health outcomes among this population. Results suggest that social support is a key facilitator of the relationship between distress disclosure and PTSD symptoms, anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms among survivors of this genocide.

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Why is it important?

Research has demonstrated that the genocide in Rwanda placed survivors at disproportionate risk for PTSD symptoms and other negative mental health outcomes. While trauma studies have found that social support and distress disclosure are associated with survivors’ mental health outcomes, few have investigated these constructs among survivors of the genocide in Rwanda or non-western populations in general. Elucidating this could strengthen interventions and other resources to better meet their mental health needs.


It often feels easier to bury personal stories of trauma in the hopes of being able to move forward. We know from a vast body of research that talking to someone about traumatic events can help alleviate some of the burden. In this respect, we hope that this article can help illuminate the importance of social support for survivors of this genocide and traumatic events in general.

Karly Weinreb
Montclair State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Social support, distress disclosure, and mental health among survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda., Traumatology An International Journal, April 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/trm0000516.
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