Terrorism, civil war, one-sided violence and global burden of disease

Med Confl Surviv. 2012 Jul-Sep;28(3):199-218. doi: 10.1080/13623699.2012.699659.


Armed conflict and related violence, including terrorism and one-sided violence, has profound effects on people's health and lives. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between deaths due to terrorism, civil war and one-sided violence from 1994-2000 and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) occurring in 2002 attributable to all causes and specific communicable and noncommunicable diseases. Deaths resulting from terrorism, war and one-sided violence were positively associated with all cause as well as a number of communicable and noncommunicable disease-specific DALYs across the majority of sex and age subgroups of the populace, controlling for an array of economic factors empirically shown to affect public health. Overall, a 1.0% increase in deaths due to terrorism, civil war and one-sided violence from 1994-2000 was associated with a 0.16% increase in DALYs lost to all causes in 2002 in the total world population. There was little variation in the magnitude of these associations between males and females and between communicable and noncommunicable diseases. The results of the present study can begin to guide post-conflict recovery by focusing on interventions targeting both noncommunicable as well as communicable diseases, thereby highlighting the full health costs of war and ultimately providing a strong rationale for promoting peace.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Civil Disorders*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Public Health
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Terrorism*
  • Violence*
  • Young Adult