Evaluation of psychological reactions among teenage married girls in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan

Abstract

Introduction

Girls married at an early age are more likely to be victims of violence from their husbands or their in-laws. This may lead them to experience mental problems such as post-traumatic stress, depression, and/or anxiety. There are a lack of data related to the psychological reactions among teenage married girls living at the Palestinians refugee camps.

Aim

This study aimed to evaluate depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms among teenage married girls in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. It also aimed to identify factors correlating with the study selected psychological reactions.

Methods

A cross-sectional, descriptive correlational design was used. The participants were recruited using non-probability sampling methods. The mental health symptoms were measured using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS).

Results

A total of 205 participants were included in the study. Their mean age was 16.90 (SD ± 0.96) years. Of the participants, 39.6%, 35.6%, and 9.8% experienced moderate to extremely severe levels of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, respectively. There were significant relationships between all the mental health symptoms and participant age, parent’s educational level, and exposure to previous trauma.

Conclusion

A high proportion of females living in Palestinian refugee camps married in their teenage years experienced moderate to severe mental health symptoms, particularly anxiety and depression. These results inform the need for psychological support to girls who are affected by teenage marriage.

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The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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Correspondence to Malakeh Z. Malak.

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Malak, M.Z., Al-amer, R.M., Khalifeh, A.H. et al. Evaluation of psychological reactions among teenage married girls in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 56, 229–236 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-020-01917-6

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Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Early marriage
  • Stress
  • Teenage