Post-traumatic stress disorder among asylum seekers and refugees in Istanbul may be predicted by torture and loss due to violence


Tufan A. E. , Alkin M., Bosgelmez S.

NORDIC JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, vol.67, no.3, pp.219-224, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 67 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.3109/08039488.2012.732113
  • Title of Journal : NORDIC JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
  • Page Numbers: pp.219-224

Abstract

Background: Turkey is both a source and target for asylum seekers seeking refugee status in countries of European Union. There is a scarcity of research on the mental health issues of asylum seekers and refugees residing in Turkey. Aims: This study aimed: 1) to provide clinical and demographic information on asylum seekers and refugees receiving mental health services from a non-governmental refugee support program in Istanbul between 2005 and 2007, and 2) to evaluate the differences between patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with those who did not meet criteria. Methods: The study was conducted at the Mental Health Division of the Refugee Advocacy Support Group. Between July 2005 and February 2007, 1209 asylum seekers applied to the support group; 75 of these individuals (6.2%) were referred for psychiatric evaluation while 57 were diagnosed as having a psychopathology. The number of analyzed subjects was 57. Results: PTSD and major depressive disorder were the most common diagnoses (55.2% for both). The most common criteria of PTSD reported were problems in concentration and social isolation (97.3% for both). Suffering torture and losing a significant other due to violence were found to be associated with a diagnosis of PTSD. Conclusions: This study is the first of its kind to be conducted on a mixed refugee population residing in Turkey and focusing on their mental health problems. Our results should be tested within larger samples of refugees residing in different cities of Turkey.