Depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and exposure to violence among Venda and Northern Sotho adolescents
Bach, Jennifer Mari
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The seriousness of children’s exposure to violence is acknowledged world-wide. This is markedly apparent in South Africa, where violence is a pervasive form of trauma. Unfortunately very little research has been done on the correlation between children’s exposure to violence and the development of psychological problems such as depression. In the present study a total of 186 Venda and 151 Northern Sotho adolescents were used in a questionnaire survey to determine this relationship. Two measuring instruments were used: The Children’s Depression Inventory and the Child Exposure to Violence Form. When comparing gender, no significant differences were found in terms of overall exposure to violence between males and females. For depression, the total group of girls had a remarkably higher prevalence of depression. Regarding ethnic comparison, no significant differences were found in terms of overall exposure to violence or for witnessed events. However, although the Venda adolescents had been victims significantly more often, Venda and Northern Sotho females had a similar prevalence of depression, but Northern Sotho boys had a higher depression rate than Venda boys. The correlation between victimization and total group depression was relatively low for the Northern Sotho group, and non-existent for the Venda group. A significant correlation was found between total exposure to violence and depression for the overall group. The shortcomings of the study are discussed and recommendations made.