Depression among migrant workers in Al-Qassim, Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Waseem NADIM ; Abdullah ALOTAIBI ; Abdulrahman AL-MOHAIMEED ; Mohammed EWID ; Mohammed SARHANDI ; Juliann SAQUIB ; Khaled ALHUMDI ; Ahmed ALHARBI ; Abdullah TASKIN ; Mohammed MIGDAD ; Jayez ALSHAMMARI ; Saud ALHARBI ; Nazmus SAQUIB



Mental disorders are common among migrant workers. There is no data on depression in Saudi Arabia among them; although, they are a third of the population.


To determine the prevalence of depression and to assess its relationship with duration of stay and living condition in a sample of migrant workers.


A cross-sectional survey of 400 migrant workers was conducted in Al-Qassim region of Saudi Arabia. Exposure and covariate factors were assessed with a standardized questionnaire, depression with the CES-D (Center for Epidemiological Studies on Depression) scale, and physical indices (e.g. weight, height, and blood pressure) with a general examination. Logistic regression was used to identify significant correlates of depression.


Depression prevalence was 20%; it did not vary by duration of stay or living condition but by age, stress, and self-reported health. In the multivariate model, those who reported ‘moderate’ or ‘high’ levels of stress were 1.7 (95% CI: 0.9, 3.1) and 3.9 (95% CI: 1.7, 9.1) times more likely to have depression (reference =‘low’ level), respectively. Similarly, those who rated their health either ‘good’ or ‘fair to very poor’ were 3.4 (95% CI: 1.9, 6.1) and 4.8 (95% CI: 2.3, 10.1) times more likely to have depression (reference =‘excellent/very good’), respectively.


The data were collected from one company and pertained to only male participants, and the study design could not establish temporal sequence between the exposure and outcome variables.


Depression is considerably high in this population; a large-scale and nationally representative survey is needed to validate the findings.


Keywords : Migrant ; Depression ; Saudi Arabia; Cross-sectional

Tags: Migrant workers, Employment, Depression, Stress, Saudi Arabia

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