Childhood exposure to violence may lead to psychiatric disorders, says study


Life, Health

Study shows experiencing traumatic event are associated with depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity.

Nearly 22 per cent of the youths had a psychiatric disorder.

Exposure to violence during childhood may lead to psychiatric disorders, a study has found.

Results showed that having experienced any traumatic event and low socioeconomic status were associated with an internalising disorder such as depression and anxiety and an externalising disorder including attention-deficit hyperactivity.

The study, published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, was conducted in two different neighbourhoods in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, one urban and one rural.

Around 180 students from public schools and their caregivers were interviewed to determine the influence of previous violent events and of socio-economic status on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders.

Researchers at Columbia University in the US evaluated psychiatric disorders including: internalising disorders (depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder) and externalising disorders (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder).

Nearly 22 per cent of the youths had a psychiatric disorder. Depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder were the most common diagnoses, at 9.5 per cent, and 9 per cent, respectively, followed by anxiety disorder at 6 per cent.

A total of 14 per cent of the sample had an internalising disorder, nearly half of whom were males (45 per cent).

Another 15.5 per cent had an externalising disorder.

Almost 60 per cent of the adolescents with any diagnosis had experienced at least one violent event during their lifetime.