Fear of nuclear war increases the risk of common mental disorders among young adults: a five-year follow-up study

Poikolainen, Kari; Aalto-Setälä, Terhi; Tuulio-Henriksson, Annamari; Marttunen, Mauri; Lönnqvist, Jouko
January 2004
BMC Public Health;2004, Vol. 4, p42
Academic Journal
Background: Evidence on the relation between fear of war and mental health is insufficient. We carried out a prospective cohort study to find out whether fear of nuclear war is related to increased risk of common mental disorders. Methods: Within two months preceding the outbreak of Persian Gulf War in January 1991, 1518 adolescents [mean age 16.8 years, SD 0.9] filled in a self-administered questionnaire. Of the 1493 respondents, 47% gave their written informed consent to participate in the follow-up study. There were no material differences between those who chose to respond anonymously and those who volunteered to give their name and address for the follow-up study. In 1995, the response to the follow-up questionnaire was 92%. Common mental disorders were assessed by 36-item version of the General Health Questionnaire [GHQ]. A score 5 or higher was considered to indicate caseness. We excluded 23 cases which had used mental health services in the year 1991 or earlier and two cases with deficient responses to GHQ. This left 626 subjects for analysis [400 women]. Results: After adjusting for significant mental health risk factors in logistic regression analysis, the risk for common mental disorders was found to be significantly related to the increasing frequency of fear for nuclear war, high scores of trait anxiety and high scores of immature defense style. Elevated risk was confined to the group reporting fear of nuclear war once a week or more often [odds ratio 2.05; 95% confidence interval 1.29-3.27]. Conclusion: Frequent fear of nuclear war in adolescents seems to be an indicator for an increased risk for common mental disorders and deserves serious attention.


Related Articles

  • The determinants and outcomes of long-stay psychiatric admissions. Tulloch, Alex; Fearon, Paul; David, Anthony // Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology;Jul2008, Vol. 43 Issue 7, p569 

    Acute psychiatric admissions lasting over 6 months (long-stays) continue to occur in England. Previous studies have suggested an association between long-stay and both schizophrenia and challenging behaviour, as well as rehousing or placement difficulties, but no UK study to date has compared...

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Special Needs Diversionary Program in Reducing Reoffending Among Mentally Ill Youthful Offenders. Sontheimer, Henry G. // Criminal Justice Research Review;May/Jun2014, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p95 

    The article discusses the effectiveness of the Special Needs Diversionary Program (SNDP) of the State of Texas, a group intervention program to reduce reoffending of juveniles who are mentally ill. Under the SNDP, participants are evaluated using the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) to...

  • Research on the Wraparound Process: Intervention Components and Implementation Supports. Bruns, Eric; Walker, Janet // Journal of Child & Family Studies;Dec2011, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p709 

    The article discusses various reports published within the journal, including one by Bertram, Suter, Bruns and O'Rourke on wraparound interventions, one by Bruns, Sather, Pullman and Stambaugh on wraparound implementation in the U.S. and one by Effland, Walton and McIntyre on wraparound model...

  • Perceived barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking in young people: a systematic review. Gulliver, Amelia; Griffiths, Kathleen M.; Christensen, Helen // BMC Psychiatry;2010, Vol. 10, p113 

    Background: Adolescents and young adults frequently experience mental disorders, yet tend not to seek help. This systematic review aims to summarise reported barriers and facilitators of help-seeking in young people using both qualitative research from surveys, focus groups, and interviews and...

  • Early Intervention for Substance Abuse Among Youth and Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions: An Exploration of Community Mental Health Practices. Anthony, Elizabeth K.; Taylor, Sarah A.; Raffo, Zulma // Administration & Policy in Mental Health & Mental Health Service;May2011, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p131 

    This mixed method study examined current practices and barriers for screening and assessing substance use among youth/young adults in community mental health systems. Substance use rates remain high among youth/young adults in the general population and substance use disorders are prevalent...

  • Review of: Mental Health Information for Teens: Health Tips about Mental Wellness and Mental Illness. Shaw, Lisa // Journal of Dental Hygiene;Fall2007, Vol. 81 Issue 4, p74 

    The article reviews the book "Mental Health Information for Teens: Health Tips About Mental Wellness and Mental Illness," Second edition, edited by K. Bellenir.

  • Adolescent mental health.  // Nursing Standard;8/29/2007, Vol. 21 Issue 51, p58 

    A quiz concerning adolescent mental health is presented.

  • Is parenthood associated with mental health? Helbig, Sylvia; Lampert, Thomas; Klose, Michael; Jacobi, Frank // Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology;Nov2006, Vol. 41 Issue 11, p889 

    Despite some reports on a potential link between parenthood and mental health, associations have not been systematically investigated yet. The present article provides prevalence rates of the most common mental disorders for parents and non-parents. Interactions between demographic and...

  • Perceived Need for Mental Health Care Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Garrido, Melissa M.; Kane, Robert L.; Kaas, Merrie; Kane, Rosalie A. // Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Nov2009, Vol. 64B Issue 6, p704 

    Only half of older adults with a mental disorder use mental health services, and little is known about the causes of perceived need for mental health care (MHC). We used logistic regression to examine relationships among depression, anxiety, chronic physical illness, alcohol abuse and/or...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics