Hard to Forget: The Long-Lasting Impact of War on Mental Health

44 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Massimiliano Bratti

Massimiliano Bratti

Università degli Studi di Milano - DEAS; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Mariapia Mendola

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

Alfonso Miranda

Keele University - School of Economic and Management Studies; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

War can have long-lasting effects on individual mental health through war trauma. In this paper, we explore the impact of constantly recalling painful episodes related to the 1992-1995 Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict on individual mental health in 2001 using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Potential endogeneity and reverse causality issues are addressed using objective measures of war intensity recorded at the municipality level.We find that individuals experiencing war trauma have worse mental health six years after the end of the conflict. In particular, instrumental-variable estimates show that they score 16 points (more than 1.5 standard deviations) higher on the CES-D scale (with higher scores meaning more depression symptoms) and have a 60 percentage points higher probability of being at risk of depression. Our results are robust to a number of sensitivity checks accounting for individual geographical mobility and different treatment intensities, and suggest that the negative effects on mental health are not mainly mediated by physical health problems. Back-of-the envelope calculations show large economic costs of war-trauma.

Keywords: war trauma, mental health, depression, Bosnia and Herzegovina

JEL Classification: I1, O1

Suggested Citation

Bratti, Massimiliano and Mendola, Mariapia and Miranda, Alfonso, Hard to Forget: The Long-Lasting Impact of War on Mental Health. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9269. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655309

Massimiliano Bratti (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano - DEAS ( email )

Via Conservatorio, 7
I-20122 Milano
Italy

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Mariapia Mendola

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via Conservatorio 7
Milano, 20122
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

U6 Building
Viale Piero e Alberto Pirelli, 22
Milano, 20126
Italy

Alfonso Miranda

Keele University - School of Economic and Management Studies ( email )

United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos?key=2804

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
18
Abstract Views
274
PlumX Metrics