People living in affluent countries are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder than those in poorer nations, according to the results of a study that have surprised researchers.
The scientists, from the Netherlands, Australia and London, say they appear to have uncovered a paradox. They expected to find that countries with higher vulnerability to tragic events – because of factors such as malnutrition, poor sanitation and low incomes – would experience higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Instead, they found that the highest levels were in countries that were far better off.
Their paper, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, finds that Canada has the highest levels of PTSD, followed by the Netherlands, Australia, the US and New Zealand. The lowest levels were found in Nigeria, China and Romania.
The findings may have relevance to the response of people in Europe to the violent killings that have been taking place.