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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


PEDERSEN, Duncan. Reframing political violence and mental health outcomes: outlining a research and action agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean region. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2006, vol.11, suppl., pp.1189-1198. ISSN 1678-4561.

In recent decades, the number of people exposed to traumatic events has significantly increased as various forms of violence, including war and political upheaval, engulf civilian populations worldwide. In spite of widespread armed conflict, guerrilla warfare and political violence in the Latin American and Caribbean region, insufficient attention had been paid in assessing the medium and long-term psychological impact and additional burden of disease, death, and disability caused by violence and wars amongst civilian populations. Following a review of the literature, a few central questions are raised: What is the short, medium and long-term health impact of extreme and sustained forms of violence in a given population? How political violence is linked to poor mental health outcomes at the individual and collective levels? Are trauma-related disorders, universal outcomes of extreme and sustained violence? These questions lead us to reframe the analysis of political violence and mental health outcomes, and reexamine the notions of trauma, after which a research and action agenda for the region is outlined. In the concluding sections, some basic principles that may prove useful when designing psychosocial interventions in post-conflict situations are reviewed.

Keywords : Political violence; War trauma; PTSD; Mental health; Latin America and the Caribbean.

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