Traumatic events spark other mental health challenges

January 23, 2023

A study of 2,000 Welsh and English youth at age 18, showed that young people who had faced trauma were at much higher risk of specific mental disorders. These included:

  • substance use disorder (other than alcohol or cannabis) — 3.5 times higher odds
  • conduct disorder — 2.3 times higher odds
  • cannabis use disorder — 2.3 times higher odds
  • generalized anxiety disorder — 2.2 times higher odds
  • depression — 2.2 times higher odds
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — 1.9 times higher odds
  • alcohol use disorder — 1.5 times higher odds.
  • self-harm —3.5 times higher odds.
  • attempting suicide — 5 times higher odds
  • committing a violent offense — 1.5 times higher odds.

In a similar study with US youth, all traumatic exposures assessed were associated with up to double the risk for developing a substance use disorder. As well, exposure to interpersonal violence more than doubled the risk for girls developing conduct disorder. For more information, see Vol. 15, No. 1   of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.