The psychosocial effects of landmines in Jaffna

Med Confl Surviv. 2003 Jul-Sep;19(3):223-34. doi: 10.1080/13623690308409693.


The victims of landmines in Jaffna were studied from a psychosocial perspective in order to identity major problem areas and give priorities for rehabilitation. Sixty-seven victims of landmines from April 1996 to March 1998 in the Valikamam area of Jaffna were studied. There were three times as many males as females. About 48 per cent were aged 20-39 years. About one-fifth of the victims were children. Of the females, 60 per cent were unmarried. The majority belonged to the lower socioeconomic strata. Half lost their earning capacity after the injury. Post-traumatic stress disorder (72 per cent), acute stress reaction (73 per cent), anxiety disorder (80 per cent) and depression (73 per cent) were found to be very significantly higher in this group than in the general population. There were also remarkable changes in the areas of functional ability, religious practice, use of alcohol and social relationships. The 'phantom limb' phenomenon was a striking feature among amputees. The psychosocial impact of landmine injuries has to be considered seriously in rehabilitation work.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amputation, Traumatic / complications
  • Amputation, Traumatic / psychology
  • Blast Injuries / complications
  • Blast Injuries / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sri Lanka
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology