Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Prevalence and Gender Differences in Symptomatology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression among Iraqi Yazidis Displaced into Turkey

Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Prevalence and Gender Differences in Symptomatology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression among Iraqi Yazidis Displaced into Turkey

Article excerpt

Responsible Editor: Brian Hall, University of Macau, Macau (SAR), People's Republic of China.

Copyright: © 2016 Atilla Tekin et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Received: 17 May 2015; Revised: 23 November 2015; Accepted: 15 December 2015; Published: 12 February 2016

Competing interests and funding: There is no conflict of interest in the present study for any of the authors.

*Correspondence to: Atilla Tekin, Department of Psychiatry, Cizre State Hospital, 73200, Sirnak, Turkey, Email:

This paper is part of the Special Issue: Global mental health: trauma and adversity among populations in transition. More papers from this issue can be found at

For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under 'Article Tools'

Middle-eastern countries have increasingly been exposed to war and violent events due to long-lasting political conflicts. These events caused millions of people to abandon the places they used to live. Psychiatric disorders related to stress are known to be common in such populations alongside general health problems. Previous studies on refugees reported diverse prevalences of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (3-86%) and depression (3-80%) (Basoglu et al., 2005; Fazel, Wheeler & Danesh, 2005; Steel et al., 2009).

A large population has been "displaced" and have taken shelter in Turkey following acts of war and conflict in the neighboring countries. The massive scale of this "displacement" phenomenon also shows certain different characteristics than "refuge" situations resulting from the relocating of hundreds of thousands of people in a very short time period. One of these communities has been the Yazidis of northern Iraq who had to move to Turkey in the summer of 2014 due to atrocities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist organization. The main terrorist attack was conducted in the Shengal region. The migrants were settled in Cizre district of southeastern Turkey temporarily.

Yazidis, who are one of the oldest ethnic communities of Mesopotamia, mainly live in northern Iraq. Yazidism is a verbally transmitted religion and an important part of Kurdish folk culture. Even though Yazidis have been influenced by other religions such as Islam and Christianity, they have maintained their own unique religious beliefs throughout history. A major part of Iraqi Yazidis speak Kurdish, especially the Kurmanji dialect (Fuccaro, 1997).

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of PTSD and depression in Iraqi Yazidi refugees who were displaced into Turkey due to the recent attacks. Gender differences in symptoms and antecedents of PTSD and depression have been the focus of this study. Gender differences in response to traumatic stress have been an important issue in studies on PTSD (Kimerling, Quimette, & Wolfe, 2002). While both genders are exposed to stressful events to a similar degree, twice as much women develop PTSD in response to these experiences (Norris, Foster, & Weisshaar, 2002). As type of traumatic event, women report sexual abuse more frequently and experiences of war are more prevalent among men. However, the population evaluated in the present study represents a rather homogenous pattern in terms of the overall traumatic stress they have been exposed to. …

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