Psychological problems among aid workers operating in Darfur

Saif Ali Musa, Abdalla A.R.M. Hamid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Aid workers operating in war zones are susceptible to mental health problems that could develop into stress and acute traumatic stress. This study examined the relationships between burnout, job satisfaction (compassion satisfaction), secondary traumatic stress (compassion fatigue), and distress in 53 Sudanese and international aid workers in Darfur (mean age = 31.6 years). Measures used were the Professional Quality of Life Questionnaire (ProQOL; Stamm, 2005), the Relief Worker Burnout Questionnaire (Ehrenreich, 2001), and the General Health Questionnaire (Goldberg & Williams, 1991). Results showed that burnout was positively related to general distress and secondary traumatic stress, and negatively related to compassion satisfaction. Sudanese aid workers reported higher burnout and secondary traumatic stress than did international workers. Results are discussed in light of previous findings. It was concluded that certain conditions might increase aid workers' psychological suffering and relief organizations need to create positive work climates through equipping aid workers with adequate training, cultural orientation, and psychological support services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Behavior and Personality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Burnout
  • Compassion satisfaction
  • Darfur
  • Distress
  • Secondary traumatic stress.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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