Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 121–131 | Cite as

Mental health of recently resettled refugees from the Middle East in Sweden: the impact of pre-resettlement trauma, resettlement stress and capacity to handle stress

  • Fredrik LindencronaEmail author
  • Solvig Ekblad
  • Edvard Hauff


The pathways to symptoms of common mental disorder and post-traumatic stress symptoms among refugees during resettlement need to be better specified. We aim to identify models of these different mental health outcomes among refugees during resettlement, taking pre-migration, migration and post-migration stress conditions, a person’s capacity to handle such stress and socio-demographic variables into consideration. A new questionnaire developed to better cover resettlement stress, as well as pre-resettlement trauma exposures and different measures of a person’s capacity to handle stress, was administered to 124 Middle Eastern refugees that had been granted permanent residency in Sweden only a few months before responding. We found four dimensions of resettlement stress: social and economic strain, alienation, discrimination and status loss and violence and threats in Sweden, that account for 62% of the total variance in resettlement stress. Social and economic strain and alienation are important for explaining symptoms of common mental disorder. In the model of core post-traumatic stress symptoms, pre-resettlement trauma exposure seems to have the strongest impact. A person’s capacity to handle stress plays significant, direct and mediating roles in both models. The impact of resettlement stressors in the context of the whole migration process for different mental health outcomes is discussed.

Key words

refugees resettlement stress pre-resettlement trauma capacity to handle stress common mental disorder post-traumatic stress 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fredrik Lindencrona
    • 1
    Email author
  • Solvig Ekblad
    • 1
    • 2
  • Edvard Hauff
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry-HSKarolinska Institutet, Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Stress Research InstituteStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Institute of PsychiatryUllevål University Hospital, University of OsloOsloNorway

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