Attitudes Toward Depression in Arab-American Muslims: A Pilot Study

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Objective: Religion is said to play a strong role in the attitude toward health and disease in Arab and Muslim countries. To what extent this is also true of Arabs and Muslims living in the United States is unknown. The objective of this pilot study was to determine the influence of religious beliefs on the attitudes of Arab-American Muslims toward mental illness, especially depression.

Methods: The Depression Awareness Questionnaire (DAQ) was administered to a group of Arab-American Muslims, aged > 18 years, attending a psychoeducational seminar in Dearborn, Michigan, from October 2017 to October 2018.

Results: Seventy-five respondents (27 men and 48 women) completed the DAQ. Although 64 (85.3%) respondents believed that depression is a medical illness and 59 (78.7%) believed that depressed patients will get better with treatment, 24 (32.0%) believed that antidepressant medications will lead to addiction. Also, 26 (34.7%) respondents reported that black magic or the evil eye could cause depression and 28 (37.3%) believed that being close to God prevented depression.

Conclusions: Although this group of Arab-American Muslims understood the gravity of depression and the importance of treatment, their religious beliefs played a strong role in their approach to mental health.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2019;21(6):19m02499

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.19m02499