Rural to urban migration, childhood abuse and risk for mental health problems. A cross sectional population-based survey in Pathumthani, Thailand

Tawanchai Jirapramukpitak, Thammasat University/Institute of psychiatry
Martin J. Prince, Institute of Psychiatry
Trudy Harpham, South Bank University

Thailand has experienced a dramatic growth in rural to urban migration. In Pathumthani, a Bangkok outskirt, half the local population has migrated during their lifetime. We aimed to measure the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD), substance use and alcohol drinking problems, and childhood abuse in a household sample of 1,052 adolescents and to test hypotheses that: i) migrants will experience more abuse and have a higher risk for mental problems ii) part of the effect of migration on risk for mental problems will be mediated through abuse. Preliminary findings showed childhood abuse experiences were common. History of abuse was strongly and independently associated with CMD and substance use. 43% of adolescents had migrated from rural areas to Bangkok, mostly independently after the age of 15 to seek work. Being migrant was independently associated with mental problems only among men. The tests of the specific hypotheses will be presented.

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Presented in Session 64: Rural exodus of youth in developing countries