Displacement, Violence, and Mental Health: Evidence from Rohingya Adolescents in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 17;18(10):5318. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105318.


The Rohingya have endured generations of trauma through displacement and targeted violence in Myanmar. Hundreds of thousands have been forced out of the country, with a large proportion settling in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. This study examines the impacts of exposure to trauma on mental health outcomes among Rohingya adolescents living in Bangladesh. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are examined as outcomes. The main explanatory variable is a measure of exposure to trauma at two levels of proximity (experiencing and witnessing). Resilience is investigated as a potential effect modifier. Experiencing and witnessing traumatic events are positively and significantly associated with PTSD and depression. However, this effect is only seen for PTSD as a continuous measure, reflecting high rates of low-level PTSD in this population. Resilience is found to reduce the effects of trauma on depression, indicating an effect modification of this relationship.

Keywords: Bangladesh; Rohingya; displacement; mental health; refugee; trauma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Myanmar / epidemiology
  • Refugees*
  • Violence