Mental health in adolescents displaced by the armed conflict: Findings from the Colombian national mental health survey

Arturo Marroquín Rivera, Carlos Javier Rincón Rodríguez, Andrea Padilla-Munõz, Carlos Gómez-Restrepo

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Colombia has one of the largest populations of internally displaced individuals by an armed conflict. However, there is no data demonstrating its effect on health, particularly in adolescents. Purpose: To describe the prevalence and associations of mental illness in the adolescent population displaced by violence in Colombia. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of the 2015 National Mental Health Survey (NMHS), which provides data of mental health issues (SRQ), mental health disorders (CIDI-CAPI) and sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Of the 1754 adolescents interviewed 5.3% (95% CI 4.1 to 6.9) mentioned a change in residence due to violence. Among them 38.5% lived in poverty compared to 23.6% of those non-displaced by the conflict. Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt were present in 19.8% and 9.1% of displaced adolescents respectively, compared to 5.8% and 2.1% of non-displaced adolescents. The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and any mental health disorder (measured with the CIDI-CAPI) was higher in the displaced population 12.3%, 11% respectively, in contrast to 2.1% and 7% of those non-displaced. Finally, anxiety and depressive disorders were more common among displaced adolescents. Conclusion: A higher prevalence of mental health conditions and disorders is observed among displaced adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 19 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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