Narrative review: The (mental) health consequences of the northern Iraq offensive of ISIS in 2014 for female Yezidis

Pia Jäger, Claudia Rammelt, Notburga Ott, Angela Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The Yezidis who represent a religious minority living in Northern Iraq were particularly affected by the persecution by ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, syn.: ISIL—Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant) that gained power after 2013. This paper gives an overview of the events and the mental health consequences on the Yezidi community as well as associated influences on affected female Yezidis. Based on a systematic literature search, the aspects of “Persecution by ISIS and actual situation of the Yezidi community”, “Gender-specific aspects of the persecution and its consequences”, “Mental health of the affected women”, and “Cultural–historical and religious context” are worked out. Research indicates a high burden of health strain and mental health problems in the surviving Yezidi women, especially post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and depression. Concerning transgenerational trauma, the recent genocide has revived past experiences in the history of the community. Like the narrow cultural and religious rules of the community, this can be both a resource and a burden. The actual extent of the attacks is neither predictable for the affected individuals nor for the community, consequences could also be passed onto descendants. Long-term care and support of the affected persons, their descendants, and the Yezidi community seems indispensable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2435
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 01-07-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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