New study: How the war in Gaza is affecting refugees in the region

The war in Gaza has placed significant stress on refugees in Jordan, underscoring the crucial need for mental health interventions.
The war in Gaza is affecting refugees in the region
A new study conducted by DIGNITY and its local partner in Jordan, the Institute for Family Health (IFH), shows that the war in Gaza is having a negative effect on the population in the country.

In a representative sample of 300 adults in three urban areas the study shows almost 90 percent of the adults reported that the war in Gaza is creating moderate to extreme stress in their daily lives. This applies to both Syrian refugees in Jordan and Jordanians themselves.

»It’s clear that both Jordanians and Syrians are under considerable stress due to the war. The data suggest the situation may be particularly acute for those with pre-existing mental health conditions, potentially worsening their symptoms«, says Jessica Lambert, Senior Researcher at DIGNITY and highlights the importance of public mental health interventions.

»Not everyone needs specialized mental health services of course, but education on managing stress and limiting exposure to media is important«, she says and explains, that for the refugee groups in the country – including Palestinians – it can be retraumatizing to see videos and pictures from the news coming out of Gaza.  

»While research on the impact of war-related media exposure is limited, existing studies suggest that such exposure can be distressing for anyone, as they can activate our stress response and trigger a sense of helplessness. It is plausible to suggest that refugees, given their past exposure to war, may be especially sensitive to these triggers. This sensitivity is also likely exacerbated for individuals in neighboring countries due to familial or historical connections, amplifying feelings of grief, anger, and distress related to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, says Jessica Lambert. This study is not intended to diminish the attention on the acute suffering of the population in Gaza. Rather, it aims to shed light on the wide-reaching mental health impacts.

The survey was conducted in November 2023 – a lot might have worsened since then.

Research area: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) 


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