Prevalence of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder in adult civilian survivors of war who stay in war-afflicted regions: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

Nexhmedin Morina, Kimberly Stam, Thomas Pollet, Stefan Priebe

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30 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background
Epidemiological surveys on depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among civilian war survivors in war-afflicted regions have produced heterogeneous prevalence estimates of these conditions.

Methods
To determine the prevalence of both depression and PTSD in civilian war survivors in the area of conflict, we conducted a systematic search of Medline, PsycInfo, and Pilots databases. We included epidemiological studies that had used structured clinical interviews. We conducted random effects meta-analyses on prevalence proportions as well as univariate mixed model meta-regressions.

Results
We included 33 studies that assessed prevalences of depression (k = 18) and/or PTSD (k = 30). Across all studies, pooled point prevalences of 0.27 and 0.26 were found for depression and PTSD, respectively. Ten percent of participants fulfilled criteria for both disorders. Surveys with a higher mean age of participants reported higher prevalence of depression. Furthermore, samples with higher rates of unemployment and higher percentages of women reported higher prevalence of PTSD, whereas samples with a higher number of participants living with a partner reported lower prevalence of PTSD.

Limitations
The findings are limited by poor psychometric reporting practices.

Conclusions
Our findings suggest that both depression and PTSD are highly prevalent in war survivors who stayed in the area of conflict. Yet, future research on this topic need to focus on psychometric properties of instruments used to assess psychopathology among war survivors. Notwithstanding this limitation, there is an urgent need for large-scale mental health programs that are appropriate for war-affected countries with limited resources and address depression as much as PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume239
Early online date15 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018

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