Mental health in Syrian children with a focus on post-traumatic stress: a cross-sectional study from Syrian schools

Jon Davis Perkins, Maiss Ajeeb, Lina Fadel, Ghassan Saleh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose
Studies show that conflict can negatively affect psychological health. The Syrian crisis is 8 years old and yet little is known about the impact of the conflict on the well-being of Syrians who remain. This gap was addressed by conducting an empirical study on the mental health burden of Syrian children in two areas of the country.

Methods
492 children between 8 and 15 years were randomly selected from schools in Damascus and Latakia. The incidence of psychological disorder symptoms was measured using self-report screening instruments, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-8) and the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS-25). Simultaneously, sociodemographic and traumatic event information was collected. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors that influence the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Results
In our sample, 50.2% of students were internally displaced and 32.1% reported a negative experience. 60.5% of those tested had at least one probable psychological disorder with PTSD the most common (35.1%), followed by depression (32.0%), and anxiety (29.5%). Binary logistic regression indicated that PTSD symptoms were predicted by: living in Damascus [odds ratio (OR) 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51–3.69], being female (1.54, 1.02–2.34), having depression and anxiety (2.55, 1.48–4.40), and the negative experiences; displacement and daily warzone exposure (1.84, 1.02–3.30 and 2.67, 1.08–6.60).

Conclusions
Syrian children are experiencing traumatic events and war-associated daily stresses that are hugely impacting psychological well-being. Our data offer guidance for mental health providers regarding risk factors and highlights the use of the school system to reach suffering children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231–1239
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume53
Issue number11
Early online date6 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Fingerprint

Mental Health
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Cross-Sectional Studies
Psychology
Anxiety
Depression
Logistic Models
Self Report
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Students
Incidence
Health
Conflict (Psychology)

Keywords

  • War trauma
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Risk factors

Cite this

@article{116b6dffca844deeb6fbde4224b8a0b3,
title = "Mental health in Syrian children with a focus on post-traumatic stress: a cross-sectional study from Syrian schools",
abstract = "PurposeStudies show that conflict can negatively affect psychological health. The Syrian crisis is 8 years old and yet little is known about the impact of the conflict on the well-being of Syrians who remain. This gap was addressed by conducting an empirical study on the mental health burden of Syrian children in two areas of the country.Methods492 children between 8 and 15 years were randomly selected from schools in Damascus and Latakia. The incidence of psychological disorder symptoms was measured using self-report screening instruments, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-8) and the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS-25). Simultaneously, sociodemographic and traumatic event information was collected. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors that influence the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.ResultsIn our sample, 50.2{\%} of students were internally displaced and 32.1{\%} reported a negative experience. 60.5{\%} of those tested had at least one probable psychological disorder with PTSD the most common (35.1{\%}), followed by depression (32.0{\%}), and anxiety (29.5{\%}). Binary logistic regression indicated that PTSD symptoms were predicted by: living in Damascus [odds ratio (OR) 2.36, 95{\%} confidence interval (CI) 1.51–3.69], being female (1.54, 1.02–2.34), having depression and anxiety (2.55, 1.48–4.40), and the negative experiences; displacement and daily warzone exposure (1.84, 1.02–3.30 and 2.67, 1.08–6.60).ConclusionsSyrian children are experiencing traumatic events and war-associated daily stresses that are hugely impacting psychological well-being. Our data offer guidance for mental health providers regarding risk factors and highlights the use of the school system to reach suffering children.",
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Mental health in Syrian children with a focus on post-traumatic stress: a cross-sectional study from Syrian schools. / Davis Perkins, Jon; Ajeeb, Maiss; Fadel, Lina; Saleh, Ghassan.

In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Vol. 53, No. 11, 11.2018, p. 1231–1239.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Mental health in Syrian children with a focus on post-traumatic stress: a cross-sectional study from Syrian schools

AU - Davis Perkins, Jon

AU - Ajeeb, Maiss

AU - Fadel, Lina

AU - Saleh, Ghassan

PY - 2018/11

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N2 - PurposeStudies show that conflict can negatively affect psychological health. The Syrian crisis is 8 years old and yet little is known about the impact of the conflict on the well-being of Syrians who remain. This gap was addressed by conducting an empirical study on the mental health burden of Syrian children in two areas of the country.Methods492 children between 8 and 15 years were randomly selected from schools in Damascus and Latakia. The incidence of psychological disorder symptoms was measured using self-report screening instruments, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-8) and the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS-25). Simultaneously, sociodemographic and traumatic event information was collected. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors that influence the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.ResultsIn our sample, 50.2% of students were internally displaced and 32.1% reported a negative experience. 60.5% of those tested had at least one probable psychological disorder with PTSD the most common (35.1%), followed by depression (32.0%), and anxiety (29.5%). Binary logistic regression indicated that PTSD symptoms were predicted by: living in Damascus [odds ratio (OR) 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51–3.69], being female (1.54, 1.02–2.34), having depression and anxiety (2.55, 1.48–4.40), and the negative experiences; displacement and daily warzone exposure (1.84, 1.02–3.30 and 2.67, 1.08–6.60).ConclusionsSyrian children are experiencing traumatic events and war-associated daily stresses that are hugely impacting psychological well-being. Our data offer guidance for mental health providers regarding risk factors and highlights the use of the school system to reach suffering children.

AB - PurposeStudies show that conflict can negatively affect psychological health. The Syrian crisis is 8 years old and yet little is known about the impact of the conflict on the well-being of Syrians who remain. This gap was addressed by conducting an empirical study on the mental health burden of Syrian children in two areas of the country.Methods492 children between 8 and 15 years were randomly selected from schools in Damascus and Latakia. The incidence of psychological disorder symptoms was measured using self-report screening instruments, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-8) and the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS-25). Simultaneously, sociodemographic and traumatic event information was collected. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors that influence the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.ResultsIn our sample, 50.2% of students were internally displaced and 32.1% reported a negative experience. 60.5% of those tested had at least one probable psychological disorder with PTSD the most common (35.1%), followed by depression (32.0%), and anxiety (29.5%). Binary logistic regression indicated that PTSD symptoms were predicted by: living in Damascus [odds ratio (OR) 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51–3.69], being female (1.54, 1.02–2.34), having depression and anxiety (2.55, 1.48–4.40), and the negative experiences; displacement and daily warzone exposure (1.84, 1.02–3.30 and 2.67, 1.08–6.60).ConclusionsSyrian children are experiencing traumatic events and war-associated daily stresses that are hugely impacting psychological well-being. Our data offer guidance for mental health providers regarding risk factors and highlights the use of the school system to reach suffering children.

KW - War trauma

KW - PTSD

KW - Depression

KW - Anxiety

KW - Risk factors

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DO - 10.1007/s00127-018-1573-3

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JO - Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

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SN - 0933-7954

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