Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Path of mental illness' follows path of war, 20 years after conflict ends

Date:
August 9, 2010
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers assessed the geographical distribution of the long-term burden of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a region of Liberia and report that the prevalence of PTSD remains high nearly two decades after the principal conflict there and five years after war in Liberia ended entirely. Particularly interesting was the geographic distribution of PTSD. Investigators found that certain villages in the region had a much higher prevalence of PTSD than did others.

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health assessed the geographical distribution of the long-term burden of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a region of Liberia and report that the prevalence of PTSD remains high nearly two decades after the principal conflict there and five years after war in Liberia ended entirely.

Particularly interesting was the geographic distribution of PTSD. Investigators found that certain villages in the region had a much higher prevalence of PTSD than did others. When they compared to the historical record about the path of the violent civil conflict that Nimba County experienced from 1989 to 1990 the team found that these were villages that had experienced the greater burden of war.

"This suggests that there is much more to the aftermath of conflict than a 'path of blood' and that populations who are unfortunate enough to have been in the 'path of trauma' experiencing severe, violent conflict are likely to bear a burden of psychopathology for decades thereafter," says Sandro Galea, MD, chair of the Mailman School Department of Epidemiology, and the study's first author.

The pattern of conflict and psychopathology is even more remarkable, observes Dr. Galea, when considering that so many in the sample were very young during the period of these events and did not themselves experience some of the traumatic events firsthand.

Results of the study are currently online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Overall the study also found a very high prevalence of PTSD. "Our demonstration of a high prevalence of PTSD here is not surprising and is consistent with a recent nationally representative survey in Liberia showing that 44% of respondents in the general population reported symptoms consistent with PTSD," Dr. Galea said. "We believe that the prolonged and high prevalence of PTSD is consistent with the greater burden of war experienced in Nimba County as compared with some other parts of the country."

"To put this in perspective, according to the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the United States, studies suggest that more than one third of all PTSD after traumatic experiences resolves in the first six months after such events," noted Galea.

The investigators based their findings on a representative survey of the population in post-conflict Nimba County, Liberia, combined with a historical analysis. Following 14 years of civil war in the Republic of Liberia, more than 250,000 lives were lost and more than one-third of the population was displaced.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "'Path of mental illness' follows path of war, 20 years after conflict ends." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191626.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2010, August 9). 'Path of mental illness' follows path of war, 20 years after conflict ends. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191626.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "'Path of mental illness' follows path of war, 20 years after conflict ends." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191626.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins