Prevalence and determinants of anxiety, depression, and comorbid anxiety–depression symptoms among adolescents in Ebola-affected zones

Studies have shown that Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is associated with poor mental health in affected zones in adults. However, no study has examined the adolescent population. In this study, the authors aim to assess the prevalence and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety symptoms among adolescents in areas affected by EVD, specifically in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo during the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so, participants aged 12 to 17 were recruited and they completed two surveys 17 months apart. The survey assessed symptoms of depression and anxiety, exposure to EVD, perception of EVD-related stigmatisation and social support. The authors found that depression symptoms increased, and anxiety symptoms decreased between the first and second survey. High levels of stigmatisation were associated with high levels of anxiety and depression. Conversely, high levels of social support were associated with low levels of anxiety and depression. This shows that EVD-related stigmatisation is an important risk factor and social support a key protective factor.

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