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The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health : findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda

The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health : findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda

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RIEDER, Heide, Thomas ELBERT, 2013. The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health : findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda. In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology. 4(0). ISSN 2000-8198. eISSN 2000-8066

@article{Rieder2013relat-26914, title={The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health : findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda}, year={2013}, doi={10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21329}, number={0}, volume={4}, issn={2000-8198}, journal={European Journal of Psychotraumatology}, author={Rieder, Heide and Elbert, Thomas} }

European Journal of Psychotraumatology ; 4 (2013). - 21329 deposit-license eng 2014-03-13T20:16:46Z Elbert, Thomas The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health : findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda Background: The relationship between organized violence and family violence, and their cumulative effect on mental health in post-conflict regions remains poorly understood.<br />Objective: The aim of the present study was to establish prevalence rates and predictors of family violence in post-conflict Rwanda. And to examine whether higher levels of war-related violence and its socio-economic<br />consequences would result in higher levels of violence within families and whether this would be related to an increase of psychological distress in descendants.<br />Method: One hundred and eighty-eight parent child pairs from four sectors of the district Muhanga, Southern Province of Rwanda, were randomly selected for participation in the study. Trained local psychologists<br />administered structured diagnostic interviews. A posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis was established using the PTSD Symptom Scale Interview (PSS-I) and child maltreatment was assessed by means of<br />the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Additionally, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-25) assessed symptoms of depression and anxiety in descendants.<br />Results: Prevalence rates of child abuse and neglect among descendants were below 10%. Ordinal regression analyses revealed that the level of child maltreatment in descendants was predicted by female sex, poverty,<br />loss of the mother, exposure to war and genocide as well as parents’ level of PTSD and reported child maltreatment. Poor physical health, exposure to war and genocide, parental PTSD symptoms, and reported childhood trauma were significantly associated with depressive and anxious symptoms, while only exposure to war and genocide and poor physical health predicted the level of PTSD.<br />Conclusion: The results indicate that cumulative stress such as exposure to organized violence and family violence in Rwandan descendants poses a risk factor for the development of depressive and anxious symptoms.<br />Besides the support for families to cope with stress, awareness-raising initiatives challenging the current discourse of discipline toward children in schools or at home need to be fostered. 2014-03-13T20:16:46Z Rieder, Heide Rieder, Heide 2013 Elbert, Thomas

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