Initiatory mental health assessments for Dinka and Nuer refugees from Sudan

Steven H. Fox, Mary S. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sudanese refugees resettled in the U.S. cited the replacement of lower front teeth removed through childhood ritual as critical to a healthy transition. Consequently, we designed a dental restoration program that included initiatory mental health assessments. This study presents the psychological baseline of participants prior to dental restoration and includes documentation of refugee-related trauma exposure. Dinka and Nuer adults were interviewed using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25. Results demonstrated expected levels of trauma exposure, yet produced unexpectedly low aggregate scores for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Such findings strongly suggest that aggregate scores must be considered within the context of the individual clinical presentation embedded within the refugees' cultural schemas, cultural idioms of distress, and overall cultural meaning systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-179
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • African refugees
  • Dinka
  • HSCL
  • HTQ
  • Nuer
  • Refugee mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Initiatory mental health assessments for Dinka and Nuer refugees from Sudan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this