Resilience and Trauma in the Southern Border Conflict Region of Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Alghamdi


Objective: People living in and near war zones are relatively likely to experience trauma, with increased exposure to war being associated with increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as depression, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. However, resilience has been found to be a protective factor against both trauma and depression. This study examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis and symptoms, depression, anxiety and resilience in a sample of Saudi residents living at the southern border.

Method: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was used to collect data online from 367 Saudis (92% male). The DSM-5 Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale were used to measure the key psychological variables. The relationships among the psychological measures were examined using Pearson’s correlation coefficients. To test group differences, Chi-square for contingency, independent samples t-tests and one-way analysis of variance were used (146 respondents with scores indicating post-traumatic stress disorder versus otherwise).

Results: The majority of respondents (72%) reported at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives. Almost 40% fully met the PTSD DSM-5 symptom criteria for PTSD diagnosis; 45% and 60% reported anxiety and depression respectively, and a significant correlation was found between post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety (r= .52; p < 0.001) and depression (r= .49; p < 0.001) respectively. The mean resilience score was 19.84 (range: 0–40), and it was negatively associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, with educational attainment appearing to enhance resilience.

Conclusion: Future research using mixed methods should be conducted to find ways to protect Saudis in conflict regions from negative mental health outcomes, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. 


PTSD; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Resilience; War zone; Saudi Arabia.

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