A pilot study of depression, stigma, and attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help among Arab adolescents.
The Arab region has the largest proportion of young people in the world and many of the factors that contribute to the onset of depression. Yet, very little is known about the current situation of depression and its associated stigma in this region. The purpose of this pilot study was to obtain preliminary data examining clinically significant depressive symptoms, depression stigma, and attitudes towards seeking professional help for depression among a sample of Arab adolescents from Jordan. Cross-sectional data were collected from 88 adolescents attending public schools in Jordan using self-report questionnaires that were available in, or translated into, Arabic. Among the 88 adolescents, 22% reported scores suggesting mild depression and 19% reported scores suggesting moderate depression, while 24% reported scores suggesting severe depression. The most frequently reported depressive symptoms were changes in sleep patterns (76%), changes in appetite (63%), agitation (62%), and crying (61%). The majority (73%) had moderate depression stigma, and 43% had negative attitudes towards seeking professional help. Yet, 67% believed they would find relief in psychotherapy if they ever had a serious emotional crisis. Findings suggest that the prevalence of depressive symptoms may be high among Jordanian adolescents. Further, many of these adolescents may experience depression-related stigma that affects their attitudes and willingness to seek professional help. To determine the true scope of these issues, including the prevalence of depression among Jordanian adolescents, future research should obtain data from a nationally representative sample.
Dardas, LA; Silva, S; Noonan, D; Simmons, LA
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