Harry Obi-Nwosu, Anazonwu Charles, Ifedigbo Chinenyenwa and Nweke Kingsley
Internal displacement is fast becoming a National crisis and many scholars have studied its political and social implications. The extent of symptom distress experienced by internally displaced persons is the focus of the current paper. The humanistic and existential theories capture the most probable explanation for experience of distress among internally displaced persons, since the incident of displacement is a stressful stimulus that may prelude development of rigid and distorted perspectives of the self and may make people to lose touch with their own values and needs. A total of 403 persons comprising of 230 females and 173 males, aged between 26 and 68 years, with a mean age of 37 and standard deviation of 9 participated in the study, which elicited the incidence of symptom distress among internally displaced persons. 203 of them (103 females and 100 males) were internally displaced persons, while 200 (100 females and 100 males) were normal residents. It was however hypothesized that a) There will be a correlation between internal displacement and symptom distress among internally displaced persons; b) There will be a significant difference between internally displaced persons and normal residents on the manifestation of each of the domains of symptom distress. The Symptom Distress Checklist was the main instrument for the study, which purposively chose participants from two cities of Awka and Onitsha. The inclusion criterion for IDPs was being literate, and having been living and working in the North for a minimum of 10years before the incident of displacement. T-test statistic was used to compare the IDPs and normal residents on symptom distress, while Multiple Regression Analysis was used to analyze the correlation between symptom distress and internal displacement. Results strongly suggest that IDPs suffer more distress than normal residents, while a strong correlation exists between symptom distress and internal displacement. It was therefore recommended that strong psychological support should be provided for them to avoid severe breakdown.