Health in Conflict Zones: Analyzing Inequalities in Mental Health in Colombian Conflict-Affected Territories

Sebastian Leon-Giraldo, German Casas, Juan Cuervo-Sanchez, Catalina Gonzalez-Uribe, Oscar Bernal, Rodrigo Moreno-Serra, Marc Suhrcke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Colombia’s civil conflict and persistent socio-economic disparities have contributed to mental health inequalities in conflict-affected territories. We explore the magnitude of mental health inequalities, contributing socio-economic factors, and sociodemographic characteristics that explain these differences.

Methods: The study draws on data collected in 2018, using the household survey Conflicto, Paz y Salud (CONPAS) applied to 1,309 households in Meta, Colombia. Logistic regression and decomposition analysis were used to analyze the risk of mental health disorders, measured with the Self-Reporting Questionnaire -20 (SRQ-20).

Results: Individuals with lower socio-economic status are at a higher risk for mental health disorders. Forced displacement accounts for 31% of the measured mental health inequalities. Disparities in employment, education level, disability and conflict incidence between municipalities are other contributing factors. Women and people with disabilities are respectively 2.3 and 1.2 times more prone to present a mental health disorder.Conclusion: It is necessary to tackle the identified risk factors and sociodemographic circumstances that contribute to mental health inequalities in conflict-affected territories, as these hinder adequate/equitable access to mental health services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number595311
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021


  • Health
  • conflict zones
  • mental health
  • Colombia
  • civil conflict
  • disparities

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