The impact of access to electricity on mental health in conflict-affected territories: An exploratory study in Gaza

Mazen AbuQamar, Dalia Eltayyan, Irina Kuznetsova*, Surindar Dhesi, Jon Catling, Raya Al-Dadah, Saad Mahmoud Mahmoud, Mohammad Abuhaiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Access to affordable and clean energy is an essential component of the Sustainable Development Goals and a determinant of physical and mental health. However, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Gaza Strip, has experienced prolonged issues with electricity, water and gas supplies. This has significantly impacted on daily life and the area is on the verge of disaster. This research focused on the mental health effects of the lack of electricity in Gaza which have not been previously documented.

Methods: A cross-sectional analytic approach was adopted. A survey was administrated face-to-face with respondents from 350 participating households. Inferential statistical analysis was used to examine the relationship between the domains of anxiety, depression, wellbeing and electricity supply factors. A multiple linear regression model was also utilised.

Results: There is a highly statistically significant link between continuity of electricity and level of anxiety (p  <  .001). The same effect was reported in the level of depression, and a higher level was observed among residents with an intermittent or disrupted electricity supply, with a statistically significant link between the level of depression and continuity of electricity.

Conclusion: Electricity issues, especially when combined with other stressors associated with living in Gaza, lead to serious mental health concerns. Urgent attention must be given to developing sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supplies for short- and long-term health and community development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Early online date7 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • mental health
  • Palestine
  • access to electricity
  • vulnerability
  • depression
  • affordable energy

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