Tehran, Iran, Aug. 17 â€“ A scientific study conducted by two independent experts found that 71 percent of teenagers in Iran suffer from depression, a Tehran-based news agency reported.
Mahdieh Emami and Mona Mir-Mohammad Jaafari noted that teenage girls in Iran were twice as likely as boys to suffer from depression, the news agency SINA reported. They warned that the sharp rise in the incidence of moderate to severe depression among girls would soon develop into a social crisis.
The study found that an alarming 11.6 percent of teenagers suffer from severe depression.
Experts attribute the predominance of depression among girls to the Islamic Republicâ€™s institutionalized gender discrimination, severe legal and social restrictions on girls, forced dress regulation, domestic violence, and lack of hope for a better future.
University of Rhode Island Professor Donna Hughes, a world authority on sexual exploitation, told a congressional hearing in June that teenage girls in Iran have been executed by hanging or sentenced to flogging and death by stoning for â€œcrimes contrary to chastityâ€ and giving birth to an â€œillegitimateâ€ child.
â€œIn each case, the girls were victims of multiple forms of sexual exploitation and abuse: incest, rape, prostitution, temporary marriage, sexual abuse in prison, and being sold to a pimp. Officials are frequently corrupt, even complicit in crimes, and arrests, convictions, and punishments are often arbitrary, as well as heinously unjust and cruelâ€, she said.
In a separate study, the Psychological Welfare Unit of the Ministry of Health has found that more than 15 percent of housewives in Iran suffer from psychological disorders, the news agency ISNA reported.