An investigation of the relations among stressors, social resources, and psychological distress in a rural area of Uganda

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Martin, Frederica
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This study explored the relations among stressors, resources, and distress in Apac district, a rural area of Uganda. The theoretical framework of this study was based on Warheit's (1986) model of stress. Briefly, Warheit's model posits that psychological distress is a function of the stressors that are placed on an individual in relation to his/her various coping resources. A socio-demographic questionnaire (SDQ) was designed to measure stressors and resources relevant to rural Ugandan culture and that have been shown to be good predictors of psychological distress. The SDQ included stressors related to physical health, AIDS, war, farming, and relationships. Resources included SES, marital status, social support, and community resources. Symptoms of psychological distress were measured by the Self Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), two psychiatric screening instruments that have been utilized in a wide range of cultures. Two hundred and three adults, from seventeen communities were sampled. Data was analyzed using analyses of variance, and correlation coefficients. As expected, stressors were positively correlated with distress and resources were negatively correlated with distress (but only for married, and not unmarried respondents). In addition, women reported more symptoms of distress than did men, and unmarried respondents reported more symptoms of distress than did married respondents.