European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 373–380 | Cite as

PTSD and depression in refugee children

Associations with pre-migration trauma and post-migration stress
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

Abstract

This paper describes the effect of pre-migration and post-migration experiences on the mental health of a sample of 40 refugee children aged 8–16 who lived in London with at least one parent or a refugee relative. Children’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms were assessed with standardised self-report measures (Impact of Event Scale and Depression Self-Rating Scale for Children, respectively). Information regarding past and present experiences were gathered during an interview with parents. There was a significant correlation between the number of pre-migration traumas experienced by the families and the children’s PTSD scores. There was also a significant correlation between the families’ number of post-migration stresses and children’s depression scores. Higher PTSD scores were significantly associated with the pre-migration experience of violent death of family members and the post-migration experience of an insecure asylum status. Higher depression scores were significantly associated with insecure asylum status and severe financial difficulties. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Key words

pre-migration experiences post-migration experiences PTSD depression 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Heptinstall
    • 1
  • Vaheshta Sethna
    • 2
  • Eric Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryInstitute of Psychiatry (King’s College London)London SE5 8AFUK
  2. 2.Centre for Social, Genetic and Developmental PsychiatryInstitute of Psychiatry (King’s College London)London SE5 8AFUK

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