Study finds direct link between trauma and physical & mental disorders part 1

By Faeza
11 December 2015

A new study has found a clear link between exposure to trauma and chronic health and mental conditions among South Africans.

The University of Cape Town study, using data from the South African Stress and Health Study (SASH), found that exposure to trauma had a direct link to arthritis, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, chronic pain and mental illness such as anxiety.

Research leader Lukoye Atwoli, associate UCT Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine at Moi University, said: “My research… for the first time, demonstrates a link between trauma exposure and physical health in an African context. I hope my findings will be used in designing interventions for trauma survivors…”

The research found the most common trauma causing events were related to the unexpected death of a loved one and witnessing a traumatic event occurring to someone else. Based on the study, Atwoli, recommended that interventions for trauma survivors should include witnesses of traumatic events.