Paradoxes and parallels in the global distribution of trauma-related mental health problems

What the chapters of this book have in common is that they explore cultural aspects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however the current chapter is slightly different because of its emphasis on cross-national patterns and the relevance of country-level factors that turn out to be risk and protective factors themselves. Understanding prevalence and predictive factors at the individual and group level is important to design and implement promising prevention, detection, mitigation, and amelioration strategies.

On the other hand, cross-national differences in the prevalence of mental illness are important for promoting global mental health, but their determinants are poorly understood. Mental disorders specifically associated with trauma and stress are exceptional in needing external events to have caused psychiatric symptoms for a diagnosis to be made (Maercker et al., 2013). In this chapter, we will present differences in prevalence of trauma-related mental health problems across countries.

Also, we will describe how exposure to trauma in national populations, together with cultural and socioeconomic country characteristics, can explain differences in prevalence between countries. By taking interactions between a number of factors into account, we illustrate how national receptive contexts for trauma vary across the world. After having presented findings from recent studies, we will discuss some implications for research and practice.

Michel Dückers, Chris R Brewin | 2019
In: A. Maercker; E. Heim; L.J. Kirmayer. Cultural clinical psychology and PTSD. Göttingen: Hogrefe, 2019 147-158
Culture-Bound Syndromes, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (DSM-5)
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