Volume 2013, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426


The recent events in Iraq following the 2003 war render Iraq as a country with a high level of all types of violence. Exposure to violence, as a witness or a victim, is related to a number of longer term emotional, behavioral and social problems. To investigate the impact of witnessing and experiencing community violence and tragedy as a factor contributing to mental health disorders among Iraqi women in the city of Mosul. A population-based cross-sectional study of 500 women were selected by a multi-stage random sampling technique. Four catchment areas of primary health centers of Mosul city were selected. Community violence with nine commonly associated social, economic, emotional, physical and mental health symptoms were recorded by questionnaire. The study revealed that all the participating women had a history of exposure to at least one type of community violence within the last twelve months. A mainstream consequence of exposure to community violence was transportation difficulties, loss of husband's job, and family displacement. More than half of the women were classified as having severe emotional disturbances that may evolve to mental health problems in future. Women are bearing the consequences of the violence in Iraq. National commitment and action needs to be taken to curb the violence which is hugely affecting the people of Iraq. Treatment programs targeted at promoting emotional resilience may be effective at preventing mental health problems.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT GROUP. Final revision of combating violence against women project in Iraq. 25 June, 2009.
  2. WHO, 2002, World report on violence and health, Geneva.
  3. National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) Modification: March 20, 2006.
  4. Flannery DJ. Exposure to violence and victimization at school. Choices Briefs, number 4. Institute for Urban and Minority Education. New York: Columbia University 1999.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Breslau N, Davis GC, Andreski P, Peterson E. Traumatic events and posttraumatic stress disorder in an urban population of young girls. Arch General Psych. 1991; 48::216222.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. World Health Organization. A user's guide to the self reporting questionnaire (SRQ). Geneva: World Health Organization 1994.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Tuan T, Harpham T, Huong NT. Validity and Reliability of the self-reporting Questionnaire 20 Items in Vietnam. Hong Kong J Psychiatry. 2004; 14:3:1518.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dannoe WA, Aromato RP. Supportive data and guidelines for using Angoff, Ebel and Nedelsky cutoff score methods. International Personnel Management Association Assessment Council (IPMAAC) Conference; Newport Beach. 1997:p.1.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Illanes E, Bustos L, Vizcarra MB, Munoz S. Social and familial determinants of anxiety and depressive symptoms in middle to low income women. Rev Med Chil. 2007; 135:3:326334.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Mitchell SJ, Ronzio CR. Violence and Other Stressful Life Events as Triggers of Depression and Anxiety: What Psychosocial Resources Protect African American Mothers? Matern Child Health J. 2011; 15::12721281.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Ronzio CR, Mitchell SJ, Wang J. The Structure of Witnessed Community Violence amongst Urban African American Mothers: Latent Class Analysis of a Community Sample. Urban Stud Res. 2011;, Article ID 867129, 9 pages.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Clark C, Ryan L, Kawachi I, Marina J, Berkman CL, Wright RJ. Witnessing Community Violence in Residential Neighborhoods: A Mental Health Hazard for Urban Women. J Urban Health. 2008 January; 85:1:2238. Published online 2007 October 27. Available at:http://www.springer.com .
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Egyptian women of the revolution. 2012. Available at:www.egyptianwomen.info/commentary.html .
  14. Fullilove MT, Geon V, Jimenez W, Parson C, Green LL, Fullilove RE. Injury and anomie: Effects of violence on an inner-city community. Am J Pub Health. 1998; 88::924927.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Guite HF, Clark C, Ackrill G. The impact of the physical and urban environment on mental well-being. Public Health. 2006; 120::11171126.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Heatherton TF, Wyland CL. Assessing self-esteem. In: Lopez SJSynder CR, eds. Positive Psychology Assessment: a handbook of models and measures. Washington DC: American Psychological Association 2003;:219233.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Report of Iraqi family health survey (IFHS), 2006/7. Iraqi Ministry of health in corporation with world health organization.
  18. Ishida K, Stupp P, Meliamn M, Serbanescu F, Goodwin M. Exploring the associations between intimate partner violence and women's mental health: Evidence from a population-based study in Paraguay. Soc Sci Med. 2010; 7:9:16531661.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Stephen S. Suicide. Medscape. Updated: Jan 16, 2013. Available at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2013085-overview .

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): community violence and mental health
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error