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Research Article Open Access
Background: Victims of political violence and genocide survivors are highly vulnerable to mental and psychological distress. The aim of this study is to explore the level of psychological distress and mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst Syrian Refugees in South Turkey and to investigate their association with socio-demographic variables. Methods: A cross-sectional survey wherein three hundred questionnaires were distributed in four Syrian Refugee Camps located in South Turkey. Surveys included demographic data, Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Snowball sampling method was utilized. Surveys missing any item were excluded. Data were processed and analyzed using SPSS v.16. Results: Surveys were returned by 178 (59.3%) respondents of which 83 were incomplete. Therefore 95 (31.6%) of total responded questionnaires were analyzed. Mean age of respondents was 34.2 ± 11.9 years and 85.3% of them were males. IES-R concluded PTSD among 58 (61.1%). Moreover HADS estimated pathologic anxiety among 50 (52.6%) and borderline anxiety among 18 (18.9%), whereas pathologic depression 26 (27.4%) and borderline depression 37 (37.9%) were the other disorders. HADS anxiety was strongly associated with PTSD (p<0.001), while PTSD and Depression did not bear significant difference. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD were not significantly associated with age, gender or marital status.
Conclusions: The political violence in Syria resulted in a high level of psychological distress and traumatization within civilians. This is characterized by the high level of PTSD amongst Syrian refugees. This requires a prompt crisis intervention campaign and urgent psychological support. Further research is required to explore the issue on a larger scale.
SIRA, Syrian conflict, PTSD, Psychological traumas, Refugees mental health, Community Psychiatry