What percentage of returned missionaries and aid workers report psychological disorders during their time overseas or shortly after their return? What do you think? About a quarter, a third, half, two thirds, three quarters?
According to a 1997 study conducted by Debbie Lovell-Hawker of Oxford University, the answer is “about half.” More precisely, Lovell-Hawker’s findings show that among the returned missionaries and aid workers she studied,
46% reported that they had experienced a clinically diagnosed psychological disorder either while working overseas or shortly after returning to the United Kingdom.
Before I went overseas, I would have guessed much lower than half, but after I first heard this statistic referenced in a debriefing I attended, in my mind, the number began to grow much higher than 46%. Statistics have a way of doing that.
Lovell-Hawker’s research included 145 aid and development workers and missionaries from 62 organizations. Though…
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