Stress and psychiatric disorder in the Hindu Kush: a community survey of mountain villages in Chitral, Pakistan

Mumford, David B.; Nazir, Mohammed; Jilani, Faiz-ul-mulk; Yar Baig, Imam; Mumford, D B; Nazir, M; Jilani, F U; Baig, I Y
March 1996
British Journal of Psychiatry;Mar68, Vol. 168, p299
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: It is widely believed that people in remote areas of the world suffer less emotional distress and fewer psychiatric disorders. Previous studies offer contradictory evidence.Method: First stage screening of two mountain villages in Chitral used the Bradford Somatic Inventory (BSI). Psychiatric interviews were conducted with stratified samples using the ICD10 Diagnostic Criteria for Research.Results: The BSI was an effective screening test, with sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 77%. At a conservative estimate, 46% of women and 15% of men suffered from anxiety and depressive disorders. Literate subjects had lower levels of emotional distress than the illiterate. Higher socio-economic status was associated with less emotional distress. Members of joint and nuclear families were similar.Conclusions: The study offers no support for the belief that people who live in Chitral lead stress-free lives or have low rates of psychiatric morbidity. Women may suffer more anxiety and depressive disorders than in Western societies.


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