Mental disorders in the context of trauma and violence in a population study

Rev Colomb Psiquiatr (Engl Ed). 2020 Oct-Dec;49(4):262-270. doi: 10.1016/j.rcp.2019.02.003. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Traumatic events and violence are widespread public health problems. They do not have limits related to age, sex or socioeconomic level. The prevalence of mental disorders and sociodemographic characteristics were compared in the context of traumatic events and types of violence in the general population.

Materials and methods: Observational prevalence study with a secondary information source, in the general population aged 13 to 65 years, selected at random. The interview was conducted using the Compositum International Diagnosis Interview which generates psychiatric diagnoses according to the DSM-IV. The variables included were traumatic events grouped into five categories: related to armed conflict, sexual violence, interfamily violence, other types of violence, traumas and some mental disorders. The prevalence of mental disorders was compared in the five categories of traumatic events. Statistical significance was defined as a p value of <0.05.

Results: Sexual and interfamily violence were more prevalent in women (p <0.05). In those under age 13, major depression related to armed conflict had a prevalence of 48.3%, with a significant difference from the other trauma groups (p=0.015). All prevalences for childhood-onset disorders showed significantly different prevalences compared with the group for violence related to armed conflict (p <0.05) and suicidal ideation was higher in the sexual violence group (p=0.006).

Discussion: High prevalences of mental disorders were found in people who had been exposed to traumatic events and violence. In those who experienced traumatic events related to armed conflict and sexual violence, higher prevalences of certain mental disorders were detected.

Keywords: Desastres naturales; Domestic violence; Exposición a la violencia; Exposure to violence; Mental disorders; Natural disasters; Refugees; Refugiados; Trastornos mentales; Violencia doméstica.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / etiology
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / psychology
  • Violence / psychology*
  • War Exposure / adverse effects
  • Young Adult