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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 1998 Jul;7(3):537-53, viii-ix.

The mental health and adjustment of immigrant and refugee children.

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Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, USA.


Although parents may make decisions to leave their homes, either willingly in the hope of improving their lives or involuntarily to escape danger and seek safety for themselves and their families, it is never a voluntary decision for the child. The economic, political, social, and other contextual issues associated with migration are as significant in predicting the child's adjustment to his or her new circumstances as his or her physical and psychological endowment. This article addresses these issues and suggests that particular consideration be given to children whose migration was punctuated by life-threatening danger or whose families were overwhelmed by the stresses of migratory experiences. Child and adolescent psychiatrists and other well-trained mental health professionals can further the understanding of the interactions among the child, family, and new community, which can promote or hinder the process of adaptation to the new setting.

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