An audit on public awareness of depression symptoms in Jordan

  • Sayer Al-Azzam
  • Karem H. Alzoubi
  • Nehad M. Ayoub
  • Yousef Saleh Khader
  • Reema A. Karasneh
  • Belal A. Al-Husein
  • Mohammad Ali S. Al-Horani
Original Papers



Depression is a common mental health disorder. The aim of this study is to determine the level of public awareness regarding this illness, its symptoms, associated factors, available forms of treatment, and the attitude towards depressed people.


A self administered questionnaire was filled in by approximately 5000 individuals selected from various regions of Jordan.


The majority of participants thought that depression is a treatable condition that can affect patient at any age, and may be controlled by the will power. Loss of interest in things and presence of negative feelings were the most commonly recognized symptoms of depression, while, unemployment and poverty were found to be the most recognized risk factors for depression. In addition, most participants considered support from family and friends (93.6%) as well as exercise (80.4%) to be the best available forms of depression treatment. Respondents found it acceptable to work, make friends with, or marry depressed individuals. The first choice persons for seeking help by most participants were family members and friends (49.8%).


Collectively, the level of awareness of depression was acceptable. However, further efforts are necessary to establish public educational programs related to depression in order to raise awareness regarding the disease.

Key words

Awareness Depression Jordan Knowledge Public attitudes Risk factors 


  1. 1.
    Sanders LB. Attitudes, perceived ability, and knowledge about depression screening: A survey of certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives. J Midwifery Womens. Health 2006;51(5):340–346.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    To SE, Zepf RA, Woods AG. The symptoms, neurobiology, and current pharmacological treatment of depression. J Neurosci Nurs. 2005;37(2):102–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Merry SN. Prevention and early intervention for depression in young people — A practical possibility? Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2007;20(4):325–329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Taqui AM, Itrat A, Qidwai W, Qadri Z. Depression in the elderly: Does family system play a role? A cross-sectional study. BMC Psychiatry. 2007;7:57.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mann JJ. The medical management of depression. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(17):1819–1834.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Whooley MA, Simon GE. Managing depression in medical outpatients. N Engl J Med. 2000;343(26):1942–1950.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Patel VL, Branch T, Mottur-Pilson C, Pinard G. Public awareness about depression: The effectiveness of a patient guideline. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2004;34(1):1–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jorm AF, Allen NB, O’Donnell CP, Parslow RA, Purcell R, Morgan AJ. Effectiveness of complementary and self-help treatments for depression in children and adolescents. Med J Aust. 2006;185(7):368–372.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Carpenter DJ. St. John’s wort and S-adenosyl methionine as “natural” alternatives to conventional antidepressants in the era of the suicidality boxed warning: What is the evidence for clinically relevant benefit? Altern Med Rev. 2011;16(1):17–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gargiulo A, Ebmeier KP. Awareness key in managing depression in later life. Practitioner. 2008;252(1705):32,34,37 (passim).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jones AR, Cook TM, Wang J. Rural-urban differences in stigma against depression and agreement with health professionals about treatment. J Affect Disord. 2011;134 (1-3):145–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cook TM, Wang J. Descriptive epidemiology of stigma against depression in a general population sample in Alberta. BMC Psychiatry. 2010;10:29.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wang JN, Sun W, Chi TS, Wu H, Wang L. Prevalence and associated factors of depressive symptoms among Chinese doctors: A cross-sectional survey. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2010;83(8):905–911.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wang J, Fick G, Adair C, Lai D. Gender specific correlates of stigma toward depression in a Canadian general population sample. J Affect Disord. 2007;103(1–3):91–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dumesnil H, Verger P. Public awareness campaigns about depression and suicide: A review. Psychiatr Serv. 2009;60(9):1203–1213.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kessler RC, McGonagle KA, Zhao S, Nelson CB, Hughes M, Eshleman S, et al. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States. Results from the National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(1):8–19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jorm AF. Mental health literacy. Public knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders. Br J Psychiatry. 2000;177:396–401.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Department of Statisitcs. Jordan in figures. 2012. 14th ed., Amman: DOS Press; zon, 6-9.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Highet NJ, Hickie IB, Davenport TA. Monitoring awareness of and attitudes to depression in Australia. Med J Aust. 2002;176 Suppl:S63–68.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Burns JR, Rapee RM. Adolescent mental health literacy: Young people’s knowledge of depression and help seeking. J Adolesc. 2006;29(2):225–239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cotton SM, Wright A, Harris MG, Jorm AF, McGorry PD. Influence of gender on mental health literacy in young Australians. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2006;40(9):790–796.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Verbrugge LM. Sex differences in complaints and diagnoses. J Behav Med. 1980;3(4):327–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Verbrugge LM, Wingard DL. Sex differentials in health and mortality. Health Matrix. 1987;5(2):3–19.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Johnson L, Andersson-Lundman G, Aberg-Wistedt A, Mathe AA. Age of onset in affective disorder: Its correlation with hereditary and psychosocial factors. J Affect Disord. 2000;59(2):139–148.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mascaro N, Arnette NC, Santana MC, Kaslow NJ. Longitudinal relations between employment and depressive symptoms in low-income, suicidal African American women. J Clin Psychol. 2007;63(6):541–553.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bhatia SK, Bhatia SC. Childhood and adolescent depression. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(1):73–80.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bromberger JT, Harlow S, Avis N, Kravitz HM, Cordal A. Racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms among middle-aged women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Am J Public Health. 2004;94(8):1378–1385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gureje O, Lasebikan VO, Ephraim-Oluwanuga O, Olley BO, Kola L. Community study of knowledge of and attitude to mental illness in Nigeria. Br J Psychiatry. 2005;186:436–441.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jorm AF, Nakane Y, Christensen H, Yoshioka K, Griffiths KM, Wata Y. Public beliefs about treatment and outcome of mental disorders: A comparison of Australia and Japan. BMC Med. 2005;3:12.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Chung KF, Chen EY, Liu CS. University students’ attitudes towards mental patients and psychiatric treatment. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2001;47(2):63–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Postuvan V, Becaj J, Marusic A. Nurses’ attitudes towards depression: a study in Slovenia. Psychiatr Danub 2007;19(1–2):61–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Savrun BM, Arikan K, Uysal O, Cetin G, Poyraz BC, Aksoy C, et al. Gender effect on attitudes towards the mentally ill: A survey of Turkish university students. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2007;44(1):57–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Javed Z, Naeem F, Kingdon D, Irfan M, Izhar N, Ayub M. Attitude of the university students and teachers towards mentally ill, in Lahore, Pakistan. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2006;18(3):55–58.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Goldney RD, Fisher LJ, Dal Grande E, Taylor AW. Changes in mental health literacy about depression: South Australia, 1998 to 2004. Med J Aust. 2005;183(3):134–137.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sayer Al-Azzam
    • 1
    • 4
  • Karem H. Alzoubi
    • 1
  • Nehad M. Ayoub
    • 1
  • Yousef Saleh Khader
    • 2
  • Reema A. Karasneh
    • 2
  • Belal A. Al-Husein
    • 1
  • Mohammad Ali S. Al-Horani
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, Community Medicine and Family MedicineJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan
  3. 3.Royal Medical ServicesAmmanJordan
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan

Personalised recommendations