Life experiences, response styles and mental health among mothers and children in Beirut, Lebanon

Jennifer W. Bryce, Neff Walker, Francoise Ghorayeb, Mayada Kanj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A sample of 152 women living in Beirut, Lebanon was studied to determine the relationship between life experiences, mothers' depression, and children's health and behavior. Measures of the perceived negative impact of both war and nonwar related events, measures of available social support, sociodemographic variables, coping or response strategies and displacement were used to predict mothers' depressive symptomatology and their children's health. The level of perceived negative impact of war-related events was found to be strongly associated with higher levels of depressive symptomatology among mothers. More surprising was the relative importance of experiences unrelated to the war in predicting higher levels of depressive symptoms. Among the most noteworthy of the findings was the association between the use of an emotional response style and the measure of psychological dysfunction. Finally, the level of a mother's depressive symptomatology was found to be the best predictor of her child's reported morbidity, with higher levels of symptoms associated with higher levels of morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-695
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • child behavior
  • depression
  • life experiences
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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