Childhood Adversities and Traumata in Lebanon: A National Study

Lynn Itani 1, Youmna C Haddad 1, 2, John Fayyad 1, 2, Aimee Karam 1, 2, Elie Karam *, 1, 2
1 Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy & Applied Care (IDRAAC), Beirut, Lebanon
2 Dept. of Psychiatry & Clinical Psychology, St. George Hospital University Medical Center, Balamand University, Faculty of Medicine, Beirut, Lebanon

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 904
Abstract HTML Views: 456
PDF Downloads: 189
Total Views/Downloads: 1549
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 504
Abstract HTML Views: 318
PDF Downloads: 145
Total Views/Downloads: 967

Creative Commons License
© Itani et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the IDRAAC (Institute for Development Research, Advocacy, & Applied Care), Dept. of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, St. George Hospital University Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Balamand University, P.O. Box: 166227 Ashrafieh, Beirut, 1100 2110, Lebanon; Tel: + (961) 1 583583; Fax: + (961) 1 587190; Email:


Background: The goal of this paper is to map the total occurrence and evaluate the risk of co-occurrence of childhood adversities (CA) and a wide variety of childhood traumatic events (including war) in a national sample. Method: The nationally representative sample included 2,857 respondents and the instrument used was the Composite International Diagnostic Interview which screened for all CAs and traumatic events. Results: 27.9% experienced CAs; the most common were parental death and parental mental/substance use disorder. 70.6% experienced a war-related traumatic event during their lifetime, and around half of them (38.1%) experienced it below the age of 18 years. 51.3% of the subjects experienced a traumatic event not related to war during their lifetime, and 19.2% experienced it before the age of 18 years. Sexual abuse, being a refugee during war, and experiencing a natural disaster were associated with female gender. Having any CA was associated with active war exposure (OR: 4.2, CI: 2.0-8.6); war-related direct personal trauma (OR: 3.9, CI: 1.5-10.0); war-related trauma to others (OR: 2.4, CI: 1.3-4.4); non-war direct personal trauma (OR: 3.8, CI: 2.0-7.4); and any non-war childhood traumatic event (OR: 1.9, CI: 1.1-3.1). Conclusion:Childhood is awash with adversities and traumatic events that co-occur and should be measured simultaneously; otherwise, the effects of a subset of traumata or adversities could be wrongly thought to be the contributor to negative outcomes under study.

Keywords: Adolescence, Childhood, Childhood adversities, Lebanon, Traumatic events, War trauma. .