Living Near Violence Can Lead to a Shorter Life Span

Medscape Staff

April 07, 2023

There is a direct link between living in a violent setting and a shorter life span, even for those who are not directly involved in violence, according to researchers at Oxford's Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

What to Know

  • Living in a violent country makes it harder to predict people's life spans. The life expectancy for young people can be as much as 14 years shorter than that of people in peaceful countries.

  • While men are the major victims of direct violence, women are more likely to experience nonfatal consequences in violent contexts, which can fuel gender inequalities and can lead to other forms of vulnerability and causes of death.

  • Mortality data from 162 countries and the Internal Peace Index between 2008–2017 reveal that in the Middle East, conflict-related deaths at young ages are the biggest contributor to lifetime uncertainty.

  • In some Latin American countries, deaths among young people are the result of homicides and interpersonal violence. There has been an increase in female homicides over the past decades, which has increased health and social burdens, particularly for children and women.

  • Those left behind because of violence face uncertainty as to who will be next, leading to feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty. That in turn can lead to more violent behavior.

This is a summary of the article, "A Global Assessment of the Impact of Violence on Lifetime Uncertainty," published on February 3, 2023. The full article can be found on

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