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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


KIZILHAN, Jan Ilhan. Impact of psychological disorders after female genital mutilation among Kurdish girls in Northern Iraq. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.2, pp.92-100. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: This study investigated the mental health status of young girls after genital mutilation in Northern Iraq. Although experts assume that circumcised girls are more prone to psychiatric illnesses than non-circumcised girls, little research has been conducted to confirm this claim. For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that female genital mutilation is connected with a high rate of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Methods: The psychological impact of female genital mutilation was assessed in Northern Iraq with 79 circumcised Kurdish girls who were between 8 and 14 years of age. Thirty uncircumcised girls from the above area and thirty-one uncircumcised girls from other areas of Iraq served as comparison subjects. A psychological interview and further questionnaires were used to assess traumatization and psychiatric illnesses. Results: The circumcised girls showed a significantly higher prevalence of PTSD (44.3%), depression disorder (33.6%), anxiety disorder (45.6%) and somatic disturbance (36.7%) than the uncircumcised girls. We could not find any significant differences between the two control groups. Conclusions: Within the circumcised group, a mental health problem can be diagnosed that may constitute the first evidence for the severe psychological consequences of juvenile girls´ genital mutilation.

Keywords : Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); PTSD; Mental Health; Iraq.

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