Psychosocial health in displaced iraqi care-seekers in non-governmental organization clinics in Amman, Jordan: An unmet need

Farah Bader, Rakhi Sinha, Jennifer Leigh, Neerav Goyal, Allen Andrews, Natalia Valeeva, Adam Sirois, Shannon Doocy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Populations displaced by conflict face numerous threats to their psychological well-being; consequently, the prevalence of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder can be elevated as compared to populations who have not experienced forced displacement.Problem: Little is known about the mental health needs of displaced Iraqis. The factors associated with a need for psychological services among patients at seven clinics served by two NGOs that are known sources of care for the displaced Iraqi population in Amman, Jordan were explored.Methods: The survey was conducted in January and February 2008 and included a random sample of care seekers from seven clinics selected using interval sampling. Interviews on the health needs of displaced Iraqis and their access to services, including mental health services lasting approximately 20 minutes were conducted.Results: Of the 664 survey participants, 49% (95% CI = 45-53%) of respondents reported needing mental health services and 5% (95% CI = 3-8%) of those in need had access to services. The length of time spent in Jordan (adjusted OR = 1.08; 95% CI = 1.00-1.11) was associated with the need for mental health services and the adjusted odds of requiring psychological services was 39% less for individuals from outside of Baghdad as compared to Baghdad residents (OR = 0.61; 95% CI = 0.38-0.98). Responders citing violence as a factor were twice as likely to be from Baghdad (OR = 2.28; 95% CI = 1.03-6.91), while interviewees reporting displacement as a cause for needing mental health services were twice as likely to be female (OR = 2.14; 95% CI = 1.12-4.18). In individuals 35-44 years of age (OR = 0.36; 95% CI = 0.14-0.87) the need for mental health services due to displacement decreased by 64%, while being a part of a female-headed household decreased the need by 81% (OR = 0.19; 95% CI = 0.06-0.57%).Conclusions: More attention should be given to expanding the local Jordanian health system capacity for the provision of mental service. Targeted social and psychiatric interventions that are culturally sensitive and aligned with Inter-Agency Standing Committee recommendations should be developed to compliment and expand the existing mental health service capacity in Jordan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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