Demoralization or clinical depression? Enhancing understandings of psychological distress in resettled refugees and migrants
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The concept of demoralization has always been controversial. Some question its value while others claim its usefulness in explaining non-specific psychological distress. This study used a set of standardised self-report scales including a Demoralisation Scale (DS) to examine the degree of psychological distress among a sample of 100 resettled refugees and migrant people from refugee-like backgrounds residing in Australia and New Zealand. A primary aim of the study was to determine whether demoralisation might offer a more relevant diagnosis than clinical depression for this population. A second aim was to explore whether clinical and non-clinical cohorts demonstrated similar rates of demoralization, and how other factors associated with forced migration and resettlement affected these rates. It was not possible to determine a clear distinction between symptoms of depression and demoralization, however, in cases of minimal or mild depression, it appears the DS may have applicability as a measure of non-specific distress that spans a spectrum from mild disheartenment through to total despondency.
World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review
© 2010 World Association of Cultural Psychiatry. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified