Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Psychiatric Morbidity among Female Commercial Sex Workers

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Psychiatric Morbidity among Female Commercial Sex Workers

Article excerpt

Byline: Marboh. Iaisuklang, Arif. Ali

Context: Psychological distress is higher in women working in sex industry. The various psycho social issues are associated with female commercial sex workers (FCSWs). The host of psychosocial vulnerabilities including, childhood sexual abuse, exposure to childhood physical abuse, poverty, interpersonal violence in adulthood, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance use, forms a fertile ground for psychiatric morbidity. Aim: This study aims to assess the psychiatric morbidity among FCSWs in Shillong, India. Materials and Methods: In the present study, 100 FCSWs were selected. For the recruitment of sample, simple random sampling procedure was followed; sociodemographic data sheet and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview were administered. Results: In the study, it was found that 9% of the respondents reported having major depressive episode (current), 25% of the respondents reported major depressive episode (past), 3% were having major depressive episode with melancholic features (current), 21% of the respondents reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 8% of the respondents reported to have alcohol dependence, 3% of the respondents reported to have nonalcohol psychoactive substance use disorder, 8% of the respondents were found to have generalized anxiety disorder, and 9% of the respondents were found to have antisocial personality disorder. Conclusions: There is a prevalence of mental health problems in the FCSW. Assessment of the psychiatric morbidity in FCSW is significant in developing health policy and interventions to reduce their impact on their well-being. It is the immediate need that the governmental and nongovernmental agencies, mental health professionals, and workers in this area need to be sensitized to the issue of mental health status of the commercial sex workers.

Introduction

In India, there are about 8-12 lakh of commercial sex workers.[1] It has been found that in India about 0.6% to 0.7% of the female adult urban populations are engaged in commercial sexual transactions.[2]

Various studies conducted worldwide indicate that female commercial sex workers (FCSWs) have higher rates of psychiatric problems and health-related issues.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] Researches on psychiatric morbidity of female sex workers (FSWs) in India are very few. Deb [1] reveals that the majority of the FSWs had been suffering from depression. Vanwesenbeeck [9] also found that in a sample of 96 sex workers, the prevalence of depression was 73%. Lakshmana et al .[10] indicated that a majority (72.9%) of the FSWs were using one or other substances, and alcohol (58.6%) was the most frequently used substance. Pandiyan et al .[11] found that anxiety, alcohol abuse and psychological morbidity (depression and adjustment disorder) was present in FSWs. Bhat [12] reported the prevalence of neurotic disorders in commercial sex workers to be 45%, and 94% had depressive disorders. The present study aims to assess the psychiatric morbidity of FCSWs. This study is useful in gaining a better understanding of mental health status of FCSWs in the Northeast context. Further, this research will provide the baseline data for planning interventional studies in the areas of commercial sex workers with a special focus on mental health aspect. As there is no research evidence of mental health status of FCSWs in Northeast India. The present study provides preliminary data on the above subjects.

Study aim

This study aimed to assess the psychiatric morbidity among FCSWs in Shillong, Meghalaya, India.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted in Lamjingshai targeting center project under Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, Shillong, Meghalaya. A sample of 100 female respondents was taken, females involved in commercial sex work were selected from the Lamjingshai targeting center project. Simple random sampling technique was followed for selection of the sample. …

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