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Mental Health Channel
Reported August 4, 2005

Mental Health of War Survivors

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- War has exposed millions of people to psychological trauma. While impunity for those responsible for the trauma is thought to be associated with the mental problems of survivors of violence, a new study finds other fears may play a role as well. The study could have important implications for determining effective intervention for traumatized war survivors in postwar countries.

Researchers from King's College of London interviewed 1,358 war survivors from four sites in former Yugoslavia. The average person was 39 years old, and 806 of them were men. Participants reported an average of experiencing 12 war-related events and traumas. These included combat, torture, internal displacement, refugee experience, siege and/or aerial bombardment.

Results show 79 percent of survivors reported a sense of injustice in relation to perceived lack of redress for their trauma. About one-third of participants reported having lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder, and 10 percent reported current major depression. Researchers say the most mediating factor for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression was fear of threat to safety and loss of control over life.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005;294:580-590

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