1887
Volume 2021, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426

Abstract

Background: Syria has suffered for nine years from a conflict that left over 11.1 million inhabitants in need of humanitarian assistance and over 80% in poverty. A ten-week-long full lockdown was enforced in Syria and successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19. This study aims to estimate the occurrence of mental health disorders after lockdown termination among the citizens of war-torn Syria.

Methods: Online questionnaires, which included demographic and war-related questions, Dimensions of Anger Reactions 5 (DAR-5) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) were distributed to different social media groups.

Results: This study recruited 1445 participants, of which 515 (35.6%) were males, the mean age was 24.8 ± 6.3 years, 38% had problematic anger, 64% had moderate to very severe depression, 42.9% had moderate to severe anxiety and 39.7% had moderate to severe stress. Increased living expenses, not being able to go out and a reduced ability to earn income and provide food were significantly associated with the psychological burden after the lockdown ( < 0.05). The association of war variables with mental disorders was weaker than the effect of the deteriorating economy. Other healthcare workers had more severe distress than doctors, who themselves were found to have less distress than the general population ( < 0.05). Anger scores were approximately equal, regardless of the type of work. Finally, shisha smoking was associated with worse mental health ( < 0.05).

Conclusion: The psychological burden of the damaged economy surpassed the direct damage due to COVID-19 and the effect of years of conflict. Urgent interventions are required, as this burden may continue for years, if not for decades. A full lockdown in countries with fragile economies may delay the spread of the virus, but it will severely damage the economy, which will lead to a deterioration of the mental health of their citizens.

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2021-05-03
2021-12-03
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): anger , anxiety , conflict. , COVID-19 , depression , developing country , healthcare workers , lockdown , mental health , stress and Syria
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