Assessing Predictors of Emotional Distress by Immigrant Type: An Exploration of Adult Refugees, Asylees, and SIV Holders in Maryland
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Stressors and trauma experienced by persons fleeing harm or persecution can cause elevated distress. This study assessed predictors of elevated distress among newly arrived refugees, asylees, and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders in Maryland. A secondary analysis of Refugee Health Screener-15 data from 4385 refugees, asylees, and SIV holders arriving in Maryland from 2014 to 2017 was conducted. Mean scores were compared across immigrant groups, and positive screening predictors were identified using logistic regression. Mean scores were highest among SIV holders and lowest among asylees. Compared to refugees, SIV holders had greater odds of screening positive; significance was reduced after adjusting for covariates. A significant interaction term was found for SIV women, who had 1.74 greater odds than SIV males. Distress varied between immigrant groups, with asylees having lowest odds of screening positive. SIV women’s significant results may owe to acculturation distress, disrupted gender expectations, and resettlement difficulties.
KeywordsEmotional distress Women Refugees Asylees SIV holders
This research was supported by MDH and JHSPH. Funding to conduct and disseminate this research was provided by the Society of Refugee Health Providers, as well as the Department of Mental Health and Center for Humanitarian Health at JHSPH. The authors would also like to acknowledge Dr. Michael Hollifield and Pathways to Wellness for developing the RHS-15 screening tool.
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