Chronic diseases, lack of medications, and depression among Syrian refugees in Jordan, 2013-2014.

Research paper by Omar Salem OS Gammouh, Ahmed Mohammad AM Al-Smadi, Loai Issa LI Tawalbeh, Laurice Sami LS Khoury

Indexed on: 31 Jan '15Published on: 31 Jan '15Published in: Preventing chronic disease


Studying mental and physical health problems in refugees facilitates providing suitable health care, thus improving their quality of life. We studied depression tendency in Syrian refugees in Jordan in the light of chronic diseases and medication availability. Also, depression prevalence and depression comorbidity with chronic diseases were identified.In this multicenter cross-sectional survey, data from Syrian refugees attending Caritas centers in 6 Jordanian cities from November 2013 through June 2014 were analyzed. Participants' demographics, depression, previously diagnosed chronic diseases, and newly diagnosed chronic diseases and the availability of medications were studied. Logistic regression was used to examine predictors for depression.Of 765 refugees who participated, about one-third demonstrated significant depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Descriptive analyses showed that depression was comorbid in 35% of participants with previously diagnosed chronic diseases and in 40% of participants with newly diagnosed chronic diseases. Newly diagnosed chronic diseases and lack of medications significantly contributed to depression, but the regression model as a whole explained less than 5% of the variance.Because the regression model showed low effect size, we concluded that newly diagnosed chronic diseases and medication shortages could not predict depression in Syrian refugees residing in Jordan. Therefore, further studies of additional factors are recommended. Prompt measures have to be taken to prevent the spread of chronic diseases and improve mental health in this fragile population.