Socio-demographic correlates of psychiatric morbidity among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria


Interest in mental morbidity as an important component of health is increasing worldwide. Women generally suffer more than men from common mental disorders, and discrimination against women adds to their mental sufferings. Studies looking into the socio-demographic correlates of women's mental morbidity are lacking in most Arab countries. In this study we wanted to determine the spread and socio-demographic correlates of mental distress among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria. A sample of 412 women was recruited from 8 randomly selected primary care centers in Aleppo. Response rate was 97.2%, mean age of participants 28+8.4 years, where married women constituted 87.9%. A special questionnaire was prepared for the study purpose, utilizing the SRQ-20 non-psychotic items and questions about background information considered relevant to the mental health of women in the studied population. Interviews were conducted in an anonymous one-to-one fashion. The prevalence of psychiatric distress in our sample was 55.6%. Predictors of women's mental health in the logistic regression analysis were; physical abuse, women's education, polygamy, residence, age and age of marriage. Among these predictors, women's illiteracy, polygamy and physical abuse were the strongest determinants of mental distress leading to the worse outcomes. Our data show that mental distress is common in the studied population and that it is strongly associated with few, possibly modifiable, factors. Copyright © 2001 .

Publication Title

Social Science and Medicine