Mental health problems among conflict-affected adults in Grozny, Chechnya: A qualitative study

Amanda J. Nguyen, Concetta Feo, Kyuri Idrisov, Giovanni Pintaldi, Annick Lenglet, Zalina Tsatsaeva, Paul Bolton, Judith Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: A decade of conflict in Chechnya destroyed infrastructure and resulted in widespread exposure to violence. Amidst substantial reconstruction, periodic violence has contributed to an ongoing atmosphere of insecurity. We conducted a qualitative study to understand the mental health and psychosocial problems affecting adult Chechens in this context to inform development of assessment tools for an evaluation study related to individual counseling. Methods: Data were collected in July 2014. A convenience sample of 59 Chechen adults was asked to Free List all problems affecting people in the area. Four problems were explored further in 19 Key Interviewee (KI) interviews, with respondents identified using snowball sampling. Data analysis was conducted in Russian by the Chechen interviewers. Results: Multiple mental health and psychosocial problems emerged, including 'bad psychological health', 'depression', 'stress and nervous people', and 'problems in the family'. Aggression, 'emotional blowing', and 'not adequate' behavior were frequently reported indicators of these problems, with negative effects on the whole family. Chechens reported seeking help through informal social networks, psychiatric and psychological services, and Islamic Centers. Conclusion: Chechens reported mental health and psychosocial problems similar to those experienced in other post-conflict settings. The description of 'emotional blowing' mirrored prior findings in Chechen asylum seekers and fits within a cluster of cultural concepts of distress featuring anger that has been identified in other conflict-affected populations. Further exploration of the nature and prevalence of this construct, as well as evaluations of interventions aimed at reducing these symptoms, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalConflict and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 3 2016


  • Aggression
  • Chechnya
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Psychosocial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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