BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: To find out whether victims of terrorism and their relatives have higher prevalence of affective, anxiety, and alcohol abuse disorders than the general population. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Between January 1997 and January 2001, 544 families affected by terrorist violence in Spain were interviewed. Victims and their relatives (n = 1,021) were evaluated by means of the PRIME-MD. They were classified according to the degree of involvement in the attacks as: relatives of victims (RV), direct victims (DV) and direct victims who were also relatives of other victims (DVRV). Their scores were compared with those of a primary health-care sample. RESULTS: Depressive symptoms were more prevalent among victims (DVRV, 59.2%; DV, 57.6%; RV, 50.2%) than among controls (40.0%) (p = 0.036) and their prevalence was directly related to the degree of involvement in the attacks. Similar results were obtained for anxiety disorders (DVRV, 52.6%; DV, 56.5%; RV, 45.0%, and controls 26.4%) (p = 0.017). Alcohol abuse prevalence (DVRV, 6.6%; RV, 5.9%) was very close to that of the primary health-care sample (4.8%) with the exception of direct victims (DV, 15.9%) in whom it was higher (p = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of psychopathology was higher among victims of terrorism than among primary health-care patients and it was directly related to the involvement in the attack. Low perceived social support, family and personal history of psychiatric disease, and typa of attack (explosives) increased the risk of suffering mental disorders.
- Psychopathology of victims
- Risk factors