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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

The mental health, quality of life and life satisfaction of internally displaced persons living in Nakuru County, Kenya

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Elijah Mironga Getanda, Chris Papadopoulos, Hala Evans
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

EG and CP conceived, designed, analysed, interpreted the collected data (which was led by EG) and prepared the first draft of the manuscript. CP supervised EG throughout. HE contributed to the interpretation of data and to the preparation of revised drafts. All authors approved the final version and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.



Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are among the most vulnerable people in the world today. Previous research highlights that conflict-induced forced displacement can cause problems with mental health and wellbeing. This study aimed to contribute to this body of knowledge by investigating the mental health, quality of life, and life satisfaction among IDPs living in Nakuru, Kenya.


A questionnaire that included the General Health Questionnaire-12, Satisfaction with Life Scale, and a modified version of the WHO Quality of Life-BREF tool was used for data collection. The questionnaire also included an open-ended question inviting qualitative responses about their experience as an IDP. The questionnaire was distributed through a three-stage sampling approach across four refugee camps from four regions of the Nakuru County in Kenya.


One hundred IDPs participated in this study. All participants scored substantially higher than the applied GHQ-12 threshold for caseness (mean GHQ-12 score = 28.7, SD = 3.6). Quality of life and life satisfaction scores were also very poor (M = 10.24, SD = 1.9; M = 6.82, SD = 1.5 respectively). The qualitative results reflected these findings with statements reflecting suicidal thoughts, unhappiness with the government, lack of support, and fear for themselves and their children. Significantly higher GHQ-12 scores were found among older IDPs (rho = .202, sig = .046), widowers compared to married IDPs (mean difference = −2.41, SE = .885, sig = .027), while lower scores were found among IDPs who reported having friends as a source of support (U = 834, sig = .045), while quality of life scores were higher among IDPs who reported receiving governmental support (U = 248, sig = .018).


The findings revealed poor levels of mental health, quality of life and life satisfaction. Older, widowed IDPs and those who did not perceive support from friends or the government were found to be at the highest risk of poor health and wellbeing.
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