Victims and Non-victims Use of Coping Strategies: Implications for Mental Health in Colombia
Dr Laura Taylor (Queen's University, Belfast)
Room 2.25, 35 Berkeley Square
Dr Laura Taylor (Queen's University, Belfast) in the GSoE as part of our ongoing research on youth conflict exposure and prosocial behaviours. Laura is a developmental psychologist with a dual PhD in psychology and peace studies.
Peacebuilding in settings of on-going conflict must attend to a range of needs; too often, individual mental health is overlooked. Yet, policymakers must address well-being because mental health problems have wide-ranging personal and societal costs. This study investigated factors relating to mental health among victims and non-victims in the Caribbean coast of Colombia (N=184; 51% female), a region plagued by decades of war, paramilitary violence, and criminal gangs. Yet, not all people identify as victims of the conflict. Exploratory factor analyses identified two forms of coping, positive and negative; there were no significant differences between men and women or victims and non-victims across the two types of coping. Cross-sectional moderation was conducted to understand how these factors related to mental health. Women (β=.22, p<.01) and self-identified victims (β=.27, p<.001) were more likely to report mental health problems than men and non-victims, respectively. Positive coping was related to better mental health (β=-.23, p<.01), while negative coping was linked with lower well-being (β=.20, p<.01). Moreover, positive coping buffered non-victims’ mental health (β=-.16, p<.05), while negative coping exacerbated depression for victims’ mental health at the trend level (β=.12, p<.10). Findings suggest that mental health interventions should promote positive coping, particularly among self-identified victims.