Prevalence and determinants of anxiety, depression and comorbid anxiety–depression symptoms among adolescents in Ebola-affected zones

Cénat, J. M., Dromer, E., Mistry, S., Villarreal, D. G., Farahi, S. M. M. M., Dalexis, R. D., ... & Rousseau, C. (2023, octobre)

BJPsych Open

Cambridge University Press | 9 p.



Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been shown to be associated with poor mental health in affected zones. However, no study has yet explored its impact on adolescents’ mental health.


This study aimed to assess the prevalence and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety symptoms among adolescents in EVD-affected areas in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the COVID-19 pandemic.


A provincial sample of adolescents aged 12–17 years (M = 14.84, s.d. = 1.49) living in the 18 urban and rural areas affected by the 2018 EVD outbreak completed a two-wave longitudinal survey. Surveys assessed symptoms of depression and anxiety, exposure to Ebola, social support and sociodemographic information.


A total of 490 participants completed the baseline and follow-up surveys, 50% of whom were female. Elevated and worsened depressive symptoms were observed among participants from the baseline (56.94%) to the follow-up (91.43%; z = −11.37, P < 0.001), whereas anxiety symptoms decreased from the baseline (36.33%) to follow-up (24.90%; z = 4.06, P < 0.001). The final generalised estimating equation model showed that anxiety symptoms decreased over time (B = −3.92, P < 0.001), while depression symptoms increased (B = 4.79, P < 0.001). Stigmatisation related to Ebola positively predicted anxiety (B = 5.41, P < 0.001) and depression symptoms (B = 0.4452, P = 0.009). Social support negatively predicted anxiety (B = −1.13, P = 0.004) and depression (B = −0.98, P < 0.001) symptoms but only moderated the association between stigmatisation and depression symptoms (B = −0.67, P < 0.001).


Most adolescents living in EVD-affected areas experience mental health issues. Stigmatisation related to EVD and living in urban areas are the most consistent predictors of mental health problems. Nevertheless, social support remains a protective factor for depression and anxiety symptoms and a necessary resource for building resilience.