Trauma Exposure and Mental Health Outcomes among Male Truck Drivers from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo: A Cross-sectional Study

Lynn Murphy Michalopoulos, Tina Jiwatram-Negron, Melissa Meinhart, Noma Ncube, Simona Joseph Simona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine potentially traumatic events (PTEs) and adverse mental health outcomes among long distance truck drivers in Zambia. This is the first study to quantitatively investigate PTE exposure and mental health outcomes among long distance truck drivers in Zambia and examine differences across country of origin. Male truck drivers were recruited along three commonly used trucking routes in Zambia. Participants included truck drivers originating from Zambia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Zimbabwe. We assessed exposure to PTEs and adverse mental health outcomes. Descriptive statistics were examined. Following descriptive and bivariate analyses, a series of one-way ANOVAs were conducted to examine differences in the number of PTEs and mental health problems across country of origin, with Bonferroni post-hoc analyses. A total of 234 truck drivers participated in the study, with the majority from Zambia (38%). Participants reported an average of more than three traumatic events experienced (M = 3.79; SD = 3.38). Findings indicated that Zimbabweans experienced a significantly higher number of trauma types on the Life Events Checklist (M = 5.54; SD = 3.50) compared to truckers from DRC and Tanzania (both p < .000). Zambian truck drivers reported significantly higher symptom severity from the Global Post Trauma Symptom Scale-Zambia (M = 11.98; SD = 6.79) compared to truckers from Zimbabwe, DRC, and Tanzania (all p < .001). Findings indicate the need for mental health programming for long distance truckers in Zambia which addresses high exposure to PTEs and subsequent mental health problems, especially among Zimbabwean and Zambian truckers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • depression
  • DRC
  • labor migration
  • post trauma symptoms
  • Potentially traumatic events
  • southern Africa
  • Tanzania
  • trauma
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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