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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;40(2):179-87.

Trauma, post-migration living difficulties, and social support as predictors of psychological adjustment in resettled Sudanese refugees.

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  • 1School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.



This paper explores the impact of pre-migration trauma, post-migration living difficulties and social support on the current mental health of 63 resettled Sudanese refugees.


A semistructured interview including questionnaires assessing sociodemographic information, pre-migration trauma, anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress, post-migration living difficulties and perceived social support were administered assisted by a bilingual community worker.


Resettled refugees from Sudan evidenced a history of trauma. Less than 5% met criteria for posttraumatic stress but 25% reported clinically high levels of psychological distress. The results indicate that social support--particularly perceived social support from the migrant's ethnic community--play a significant role in predicting mental health outcomes. Pre-migration trauma, family status and gender were also associated with mental health outcomes.


Refugees in Australia may constitute a particularly vulnerable group in terms of mental health outcomes. Culturally specific sequelae in terms of social isolation and acculturation may be particularly problematic for these migrants.

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