Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 1516-4446
RIBEIRO, Wagner S. et al. Exposure to violence and mental health problems in low and middle-income countries: a literature review. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2009, vol.31, suppl.2, pp. S49-S57. ISSN 1516-4446. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462009000600003.
OBJECTIVE: To study the epidemiological evidence on the prevalence of exposure to violence and its relationship with mental health problems in low and middle-income countries. METHOD: The search was based on cross-sectional and cohort studies available in electronic databases (Medline, Psycinfo, Embase, SciELO and Lilacs), through July 2009, using the key words: "violence" and "mental disorders". RESULTS: The frequency of exposure to violence was shown to be very high and was significantly associated with mental health problems. Among children, the highest correlation was found to be of domestic violence with externalizing problems (OR = 9.5; 95% CI = 3.4-26.2), and suicidal ideation with sexual abuse (OR = 8.3; p < 0.05); among women, depression/anxiety symptoms correlated with intimate-partner psychological (OR = 3.2; 95% CI = 1.8-5.8) and sexual (OR = 9.7; 95% CI = 1.9-51.2) violence. In the general population, the highest prevalence rates of post-traumatic stress disorder were associated with sexual and domestic violence, kidnapping, and cumulative trauma exposure. Violence also correlated with common mental disorders. CONCLUSION: A substantial part of the mental health problems in low and middle-income countries can be attributed to violence. Thus, interventions directed to decrease violence in low and middle-income countries might have a major positive impact on the mental health of those living in these settings.
Keywords : Violence; Mental disorders; Cross-sectional studies; Cohort studies; Review.