Psychiatric disorders among war abducted and non-abducted adolescents in Gulu District, Uganda: A comparative study

Gulu University, Uganda.
African Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.73). 12/2007; 10(4):225-31. DOI: 10.4314/ajpsy.v10i4.30260
Source: PubMed


Objective:We aimed to assess the nature and patterns of psychiatric disorders among adolescents who had been war-abducted in the war in northern Uganda, compared to non-abducted adolescents living in Gulu district, Uganda.Method: A cros sectional study that used an unmatched case-control design compared 82 abducted and 71 non-abducted adolescents for scores on measures of psychological distress and for selected psychiatric diagnoses using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Mini International Neural-Psychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents English version 2.0 (M.I.N.I-KID). Results: More than 90% of adolescents reported exposure to severe trauma, either through direct or indirect experiences. Significantly more war abducted adolescents reported PTSD (26.8%v.12.7%) (p=0.03) major depression (19.5%v.4.2%) (p=0.004), and generalised anxiety disorder (13.4v.4.2%) (p=0.049) than non abducted adolescents. By contrast, non-abducted adolescents reported more past suicidality (p=0.004, chi(2)=8.2) than adolescents who were abducted. However, despite high rates of psychiatric disorder, these adolescents had good psychosocial adjustment. Conclusion: Adolescents in war affected areas whether warabducted or not have varied and clinically significant emotional responses to different kinds of traumatic exposure. In a war-affected area, the development of a sustainable service for adolescents that tries to address the full range of mental health problems may be more appropriate than a psychological trauma service that focuses on one diagnosis.

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    • "Child soldiers commonly have adverse psychological and psychosocial outcomes following involvement in armed conflicts (Betancourt et al. 2013). In studies using comparison groups, the burden of mental health and psychosocial problems is greater among child soldiers than among civilian children experiencing the conflict (Okello et al. 2007; Kohrt et al. 2008; Blattman & Annan, 2010; Betancourt et al. 2011). In addition to greater exposure to traumatic wartime events, child soldiers often experience rejection and discrimination from families, teachers, peers, and other community members (Betancourt et al. 2013). "
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    01/2015; 2. DOI:10.1017/gmh.2015.13
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    • "Also, none of the studies measured PTSS rates in a comparable control sample of nonchild soldiers. One study that did use a control group to look at specific war events and psychological distress found that children who had been abducted by armed militias in Uganda showed higher rates of PTSD (26.8% vs. 12.7%), major depression (19.5% vs. 4.2%), and generalized anxiety disorder (13.4% vs. 4.2%) than their nonabducted peers (Okello, Onen, & Musisi, 2007). This finding was supported by Kohrt et al. (2008) who found that Nepalese child soldiers had greater levels of depression and PTSD than their nonconscripted peers even after adjustment for traumatic exposures and other covariates. "
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    Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 08/2014; 28(3). DOI:10.1891/0889-8391.28.3.211
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    • "A recent study compared the mental health status of former child soldiers with that of children who have never been conscripts of armed groups. The results showed that all participants experienced at least one type of trauma, but the majority of them experienced more than one traumatic event (Okello et al., 2007; Kohrt et al., 2008). The same studies also show that the prolonged exposure to traumas caused complex psychological alterations to all children. "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2013; 4:523. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00523 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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