Mental health and violence against mothers in Dharavi, Mumbai

Supervisors: Dr David Osrin and Dr Audrey Prost

The research project brings together three strands of inquiry: urban health, mental health, and violence against women and children. It has three general objectives: to quantify common mental disorder among mothers in an urban slum setting in India, to explore the links between common mental disorder and violence against women, and to design a model intervention to identify and support women with common mental disorder, and integrate it with programmes against domestic violence.

The research student will develop a thesis through a sequence of activities that combine quantitative and qualitative approaches.

(1) A literature review describing the prevalence and associations of common mental disorders in India, with a particular emphasis on urban environments.
(2) A systematic review of interventions to improve the detection and management of common mental disorders in urban areas that could be applied in low- and middle-income countries.
(3) Analysis of existing quantitative data on the prevalence of common mental disorders in women from Mumbai slums.
(4) Design and implementation of new data collection to describe the prevalence of common mental disorders and violence in a sample of mothers from Mumbai slums.
(5) Analysis of prevalence and associations of violence and common mental disorders.
(6) A qualitative exploration of experiences of common mental disorders, through interviews with mothers.
(7) On the basis of the sequence of investigation, design of an intervention model for piloting in Dharavi, a well-known informal settlement in Mumbai with a population of ~750,000.

The research student will join a team based at SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action), which works to improve the health of women and children in Mumbai’s poorest communities.

The first year of the PhD will be spent on literature and systematic review, analysis of existing quantitative data, and planning for further quantitative data collection. After induction and development of the literature review, the research student will visit Mumbai to plan activities with the local team.

The second year will be spent on data collection, quantitative and qualitative, and will yield a provisional quantitative analysis. The research student will synthesize the findings of the preceding exercises in a design for a pilot project to identify and support women with common mental disorder, and integrate it with programmes against domestic violence.

The third year and completing research status will be spent on further analysis and writing up.

1) Satterthwaite D. The scale of urban change worldwide 1950-2000 and its underpinnings. London: International Institute for Environment and Development; 2004.
2) INCLEN. Domestic violence in India: a summary report of a multi-site household survey. Washington DC: International Clinical Epidemiologists' Network, International Center for Research on Women; 2000.
3) Shrivastava PS, Shrivastava SR. A study of spousal domestic violence in an urban slum of Mumbai. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4:27-32.
4) Wachs TD, Black MM, Engle PL. Maternal depression: a global threat to children's health, development, and behavior and to human rights. Child Dev Perspect. 2009;3:51-9.
5) Daruwalla N, Fernandez A, Salam J, Shaikh N, Osrin D. Conflict, crisis, and abuse in Dharavi, mumbai: experiences from six years at a centre for vulnerable women and children. PLoS Medicine. 2009;6(7):e1000088.