Institute for Global Health


Mental Health Consequences of Community Violence among Adolescents in Brazil

Mental Health Consequences of Community Violence among Adolescents in Brazil: Evidence and Methods to Inform Future Research and Intervention

Principal Investigator: Prof Glyn Lewis

IGH Principal Investigator: Dr Delanjathan Devakumar

Dates: 1 March 2018 - 1 March 2019

Lead Organisation: UCL Division of Psychiatry

Partners: University of São Paulo, University of Bahia, University of Pelotas, CIDACs

Location: Pelotas, São Paulo, Salvador, Brazil

Funding: Medical Research Council

Contact: d.devakumar@ucl.ac.uk

Project Summary 

The goal of this grant is to reduce the burden of mental health problems associated with exposure to community violence among adolescents in Brazil. Exposure to community violence in high income countries is consistently associated with mental health problems, especially when experienced during development and accumulated throughout the life cycle. While substantial attention has been paid to the mental health consequences of domestic violence, less research has focused on the mental health burden associated with community violence, despite its endemic nature in several LMICs and Brazil in particular. Adolescence has been defined as a sensitive window for health prevention and they are particularly at risk of violence in Brazil. 

Our grant consists of three distinct components:

1. Longitudinal association of community violence and mental health problems among adolescents (10-19 years old) in Brazil
Drawing on multiple longitudinal datasets, we will provide a comprehensive picture of the contribution of different types of community violence to mental health. 

2. Feasibility of big data linkage using routine national datasets on community violence, mental health, and policies
We will conduct pilot work to explore the effect of policies to reduce violence on the mental health of victims by record linkage of national routine datasets on community violence, adolescent mental health and social policies. 

3. New data collection on community violence and mental health in adolescents in São Paulo state
We will conduct questionnaires with adolescents in a school in a high violence neighbourhood, with a cohort of pregnant adolescents and in detention centres. As part of this, we will investigate the clinical presentation of PTSD in the context of chronic and repeated exposure to community violence. We will also conduct an assessment of the mental health services available. 

IGH Research Team
Prof Ibrahim Abubakar
Dr Delan Devakumar
Dr Ligia Kiss
Dr Ildo Lautharte Junior
Dr Kelly Clarke
Paula De Souza Leao Spinola
Meaghen Quinlan-Davidson

Adolescent Health


Further research