Determinants of Mental Disorders in Syrian Refugees in Turkey Versus Internally Displaced Persons in Syria

Sidika Tekeli-Yesil, Esra Isik, Yesim Unal, Fuad Aljomaa Almossa, Hande Konsuk Unlu, and Ahmet Tamer Aker

American Journal of Public Health, July 2018, Volume108, No. 7


This article compares the frequencies of some mental health disorders between Syrian refugees living in Turkey and IDPs in Syria, and identifies factors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder. The authors carried out a survey of 540 IDPs in Syria and refugees in Turkey (in geographically and culturally close areas). They found that mental disorders were highly prevalent in both populations. Most mental disorders, including PTSD, were more prevalent among IDPs in Syria than among refugees in Turkey. However, major depressive disorder was more frequent among refugees in Turkey than among IDPs in Syria. The authors also found that posttraumatic stress disorder was associated with post-migration factors (i.e. working status after migration, family unity, satisfaction about living in current settlement, and having stopped somewhere else before current settlement). The likelihood of major depressive disorder was predicted by stopping somewhere else before resettlement in the current location. The authors conclude that the resettlement locus and the context and type of displacement seem to be important determinants of mental health disorders, with post-migration factors being stronger predictors of conflict-related mental health. These findings suggest that IDPs may benefit more from trauma-focused approaches, whereas refugees may derive greater benefit from psychosocial approaches.


Health | Mental Health


Syria | Turkey