Title

Political violence and mental health: A multi-disciplinary review of the literature on Nepal

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2010

Journal

Social Science and Medicine

Volume

70

Issue

1

DOI

10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.09.037

Keywords

Armed conflict; Mental health; Nepal; Political violence; Psychosocial; Review; War; Wellbeing

Abstract

Implementation of current international consensus guidelines regarding mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies requires the consideration of findings from both the medical and social sciences. This paper presents a multi-disciplinary review of reported findings regarding the relations between political violence, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in Nepal. A systematic search of six databases resulted in the identification of 572 studies, of which 44 were included in the review. These studies investigated the influence of political violence on contextual variables that shape mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and examined psychological distress and mental disorders in the context of political violence. The majority of studies addressed the mental health of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and the impact of the Maoist People's War. Based upon these results from Nepal, we discuss a number of issues of concern to international researchers and practitioners and present policy and research recommendations. Specifically, we consider (a) the need for longitudinal multi-disciplinary research into protective and risk factors, including agency, of psychological distress and mental disorders in situations of political violence, (b) the continuing controversy regarding the PTSD construct, and (c) the lack of robust findings regarding the effectiveness of mental health and psychosocial support. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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