Family violence, war, and natural disasters: A study of the effect of extreme stress on children's mental health in Sri Lanka

The consequences of war and natural disasters on the mental health of children and family dynamics remain poorly understood. The aim of this investigation was to establish the prevalence and predictors of traumatic stress related to war, family violence and the recent Tsunami experience in children living in a region affected by a long-lasting violent conflict. The study also looked at whether higher levels of war violence would be related to higher levels of violence within the family and whether this would result in higher rates of psychological problems in the affected children.

296 Tamil school children in Sri Lanka's North-Eastern provinces were randomly selected for the survey. 82.4% of the children had experienced at least one war-related event. 95.6% reported at least one aversive experience out of the family violence spectrum. The consequences are reflected in a 30.4% PTSD and a 19.6% Major Depression prevalence. Linear regression analyses showed that fathers' alcohol intake and previous exposure to war were significantly linked to the amount of maltreatment reported by the child.

The results from this study argue for a relationship between war violence and violent behavior inflicted on children in their families. Both of these factors, together with the recent Tsunami, resulted in significant predictors of PTSD in children, thus highlighting the detrimental effect that the experience of cumulative stress can have on children's mental health.

Published 2014-07-14

Document Information

Publication year
2008
Format
pdf, 10p.
Rights
© 2008 Catani et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Country
Sri Lanka
Identifier
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-33

Related Documents

Document Information

Publication year
2008
Format
pdf, 10p.
Rights
© 2008 Catani et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Country
Sri Lanka
Identifier
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-33