Investigation of factors related to anxiety and depression levels in elderly Syrian migrants: A survey study
Anxiety and depression levels in elderly migrants
Keywords:Anxiety, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, depression, elderly, immigrant
Objective: The world's migrant population is nearing 300 million, leading to a growing migrant elderly population. Mental health problems affect the well-being and quality of life of migrant elders, resulting in serious costs globally. This study aimed to examine anxiety and depression levels and related factors in elderly Syrian immigrants.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study. It included Syrian immigrants over the age of 65 years residing in Sultanbeyli, a district of Istanbul. The research was conducted face-to-face with elderly immigrants visited at home between January and July 2023. The participants completed a questionnaire consisting of sociodemographic characteristics, health and disease status, Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The questionnaire was administered face-to-face by a team consisting of psychologists, social workers, nurses and Arabic interpreters.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 70.74±4.96 years. Of the participants,47.4% were female, 17.9% were 75 years of age or older, 80.7% had a primary school education or less, 64.1% were married, 51.3% had low income levels, and 47.4% lived in the same house with five or more people. In the study group, 76.2% were above normal weight (BMI≥25), 84.6% had chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, urologic problems), 39.7% had gait and balance disorders, and 56.4% had regular medication use. The median value of the BDI was 7 (min:0, max:31), and the mean±SD values of the BDI were 12.0±6.03. Anxiety and depression were found to be associated with sex, education level, BMI, gait-balance disorder, history of falls, chronic disease and polypharmacy (p˂0.05).
Conclusion: While 10.4% of the participants had a moderate or high risk of anxiety, 20.5% had moderate or severe depression. Sociodemographic characteristics and health problems, which increase in frequency with age, affect the mental health of immigrants. For effective mental health interventions for immigrant elders, it would be useful to conduct field studies with wider participation.
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