Depression in Immigrant Arab-American Women

Monday, 30 July 2012

Anahid Kulwicki, PhD, RN
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Learning Objective 1: Learning Objectives #1: The learner will be able to identify the incidence of depression and its implication among Arab American immigrant women

Learning Objective 2: Learning Objectives #2: The learner will be able to identify culturally competent mental health services in immigrant Arab American women

Purpose: Is to examine the incidence of depression in a sample of Arab American immigrant women and refugees in a metropolitan area of United States in order to develop culturally appropriated services to this vulnerable population.

Methods: The Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HCL-25) was used to assess anxiety and depression in a convenience sample of 312 women residing in a metropolitan area of Detroit, Michigan. The Arabic version of the scale was administered to women who are at least 18 years old or older and who self identified as being immigrants. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used for data analysis.  Measures of central tendency, correlations, and regression analysis were computed to examine the experience of depression.  

Results: The majority of the women in this sample did not report symptoms of anxiety such as being scared for no reason, feeling fearful, faintness, dizziness or weakness, and others. On the other hand, they did exhibit headaches (48.8%) quite often. Similarly, 10-15% of women experienced depression symptoms such as feeling low in energy, blaming themselves, feeling blue,  feeling hopeless and worthless.

Conclusion: Understanding the mental health needs of immigrant and refugee women is a critical step towards developing appropriate mental health services for this vulnerable population. With the rapid growth of refugees and immigrant populations from the Arab world due to continuous political, religious and ethnic unrest, the Arab immigrants have become an important population that has required special attention for mental health services in the United States.