The centre is also linked to a research project through Uppsala University, with the aim to: 

  • assess the mental health status of the Assyrian-­Syrian group currently living in Istanbul, and to understand the experiences of trauma, the health conditions and importance of networks for wellbeing for the Assyrian-­Syrian group in Istanbul.

The health measurements were done through several instruments, the first being before participants start activities at the centre and the second one being after a two-month period. The results show that physical symptoms increase by time, due to worry for relatives in Syria and own difficult living conditions in Istanbul. Still though, there was an improvement in general self-efficiency and religious coping. 

One  conclusion from the research is that interventions to increase self-­efficiency are important for early stage coping mechanisms.


Upcoming peer-reviewed research article in The Middle East Journal of Refugee Studies (MEJRS).  

A Psychosocial, Spiritual, and Physical Health Study among Assyrian-Syrian Refugees in Istanbul: Cultivating Resilience in the Midst of Hardship

Önver A. Çetrez, Correspondence to. Önver A. Cetrez (PhD). Department of Psychology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University; Uppsala, Sweden. Email:

Valerie DeMarinis, Department of Psychology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University; Uppsala, Sweden. Email:


This study aimed at describing the general health situation among Assyrian-Syrian refugees (n = 171, 70.2% males, mean age 31.08) in Istanbul, during two separate time periods. Measures included The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), The Brief R-COPE, The General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE), The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), The Primary Care Post Traumatic Disorder Scale (PC-PTSD), together with a number of additional health items. The results showed that among the 52.4% of those who were found to have experienced some kind of trauma, 23.4% met the criteria for PTSD. Ratings of one’s own physical health (< .001), one’s own psychological health (< .05), and PHQ were statistically significant with PTSD. Females rated their own physical health (< .01) and own psychological health (< .01) worse than men. A paired-samples t-Test showed a significant increase from Time 1 to Time 2 for Positive R-COPE (< .08), a decrease for Negative R-COPE (< .05), and an increase for the GSE (< .05). A paired-samples t-Test showed a significant gender difference for the PHQ (< .01) and GSE (< -01). A mediation model, using a Sobel Test, showed that positive religious coping strategies reduced symptoms in male participants by improving their evaluations toward their own psychological well-being (< .001).


Assyrian-Syrian refugees • Physical health • Psychological health • Religious coping • Trauma • Istanbul • Community work


Contact for Research Project

Önver Cetrez