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Title: Associations between traumatic event experiences, psychiatric disorders, and suicidal behavior in the general population of Afghanistan: findings from Afghan National Mental Health Survey
Authors: Sabawoon, Ajmal
Keyes, Katherine M
Karam, Elie G.
Kovess-Masfety, Viviane
Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine 
Keywords: Afghanistan
Suicidal behavior psychiatric disorders
Issue Date: 2022-10-06
Publisher: BMC
Part of: Injury Epidemiology
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
The role of traumatic event exposure and psychiatric disorders as central risk factors for suicidal behavior has been established, but there are limited data in high conflict regions with significant trauma exposures such as Afghanistan.

A nationally representative, cross-sectional survey was conducted through systematic stratified random sampling in 8 regions of Afghanistan in 2017 (N = 4474). Well-validated instruments were used to establish trauma exposure, psychiatric disorders. Death preference, suicidal ideation, plan, and attempts were assessed.

In the total sample, 2.2% reported suicidal ideation in the past 12 months, and 7.1% of respondents reported that they had suicidal ideation at some point in their lives; 3.4% reported a suicide attempt. Women were at higher risk than men. All traumatic event exposures were strongly associated with suicidal behavior. Respondents who reported experiencing sexual violence were 4.4 times more likely to report lifetime suicide attempts (95% CI 2.3–8.4) and 5.8 times more likely to report past 12-month suicidal ideation (95% CI 2.7–12.4). Associations were strong and significant for all psychiatric disorders related to suicidal behavior. Respondents who met criteria for major depressive episodes (OR = 7.48; 95% CI 4.40–12.72), generalized anxiety disorder (OR = 6.61; 95% CI 3.54–12.33), and PTSD (OR = 7.26; 95% CI 4.21–12.51) had the highest risk of past 12-month suicidal ideation.

Traumatic event exposures and psychiatric disorders increase risk of suicidal behavior in the Afghan general population; women are at high risk. Interventions to reduce trauma exposure, including expansion of a mental health workforce in the region, are critically important.
ISSN: 2197-1714
DOI: 10.1186/s40621-022-00403-8
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine

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