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Int J Psychiatr Nurs Res. 1999 Oct;5(2):589-600.

Southeast Asian refugee children: violence experience and depression.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health, Mental Health and Administrative Nursing, University of Illinois, Chicago College of Nursing 60012, USA. pgfox@uic.edu


The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that there were approximately 8.2 million refugees world wide in 1980. Estimates today place the number of refugees to be at least 44 million. Although most refugees remain within the boarders of their homelands, others who are granted asylum immigrate to host countries. The largest number of refugees to enter the United States during the past 20 years are from Southeast Asia, following the end of the Viet Nam War in 1975. The majority of immigrating Southeast Asian refugees were children and adolescents. Empirical study of refugee children, who are known to have experienced catastrophic violence during war, escape from homelands and in camps of asylum, is relatively scarce. Some studies that have addressed this issue document association between violence experience, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Even so, the findings are not always clear. The purpose of this paper is to document the frequency of pre-migration and post-migration violence experiences reported by Southeast Asian refugee children in the U.S. and their relationship to depression. This study also addresses the emotional impact of violence experiences as described by the children. Previous studies have often neglected this important variable in accounting for variations in children' 5 mental health status. Nurses, internationally, will want to consider the multiple facets of violence experience when assessing children who may be at high risk for psycho-social adaptation problems following resettlement.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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