Prevalence and gender differences in symptomatology of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression among Iraqi Yazidis displaced into Turkey

Author(s): Atilla TEKIN, Hekim KARADAG, Metin SULEYMANOGLU, Yusuf KAYRAN, Gokay ALPAK and Vedat SAR




Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are common among populations displaced due to large-scale political conflicts and war.


The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence and gender-based differences in symptoms of PTSD and depression among Iraqi Yazidis displaced into Turkey.


The study was conducted on 238 individuals who were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) and the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire.


Of the participants, 42.9% met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD, 39.5% for major depression, and 26.4% for both disorders. More women than men suffered from PTSD and major depression. More women than men with PTSD or depression reported having experienced or witnessed the death of a spouse or child. Women with PTSD reported flashbacks, hypervigilance, and intense psychological distress due to reminders of trauma more frequently than men. Men with PTSD reported feelings of detachment or estrangement from others more frequently than women. More depressive women than men reported feelings of guilt or worthlessness.


PTSD and major depression affected women more frequently than men. While women tended to respond to traumatic stress by undermodulation of emotions and low self-esteem, men tended to respond by overmodulation of emotions. Rather than being a derivative of sex differences, this complementary diversity in response types between genders seems to be shaped by social factors in consideration of survival under extreme threat.

Keywords: Depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, refugee, gender-based differences, traumatic life events

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