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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2009 Apr 2;3(1):13. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-3-13.

Mental health issues in unaccompanied refugee minors.

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1
Medical University of Vienna, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vienna, Austria. julia.huemer@meduniwien.ac.at

Abstract

Previous studies about unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) showed that they are a highly vulnerable group who have greater psychiatric morbidity than the general population. This review focuses on mental health issues among URMs. Articles in databases PsycINFO, Medline and PubMed from 1998 to 2008 addressing this topic were reviewed. The literature had a considerable emphasis on the assessment of PTSD symptoms. Results revealed higher levels of PTSD symptoms in comparison to the norm populations and accompanied refugee minors. In several studies, age and female gender predicted or influenced PTSD symptoms. The existing literature only permits limited conclusions on this very hard to reach population. Future research should include the analysis of long-term outcomes, stress management and a more thorough analysis of the whole range of psychopathology. Additionally, the development of culturally sensitive norms and standardized measures for diverse ethnic groups is of great importance.

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