Associations between potential traumatic experience and mental health in adolescent refugee populations: A scoping review
Roman, Nicolette Vanessa
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This scoping review examines known associations between potential traumatic experiences and mental health outcomes among adolescent refugees. Little is known about the type and severity of traumatic experiences among adolescent refugees and whether the type and severity of these experiences are associated with poor mental health. Five electronic databases were searched to identify relevant peer-reviewed articles. Inclusion criteria were: 1) trauma was the predictor variable of the article, 2) at least one of two selected mental health conditions (depression and anxiety) was an outcome variable of the study, 3) the quantitative relationship between trauma and mental health was discussed; 4) participants of the study were adolescent refugees or asylum seekers; 5) the article was published between January 1, 2011 and August 30, 2020; 6) and written in English. Adolescents aged 12–18 of all genders were included in this review. Of 3319 potentially relevant articles identified, 11 articles were included. All the included studies employed a cross-sectional study design. Adolescent refugees experienced a variety of traumatic events, such as physical and sexual violence, war-related events, natural disasters, migration-related events, and verbal and emotional abuse. The review found a positive association between trauma exposure and poor mental health outcomes of depression and anxiety in all included studies across diverse adolescent refugee populations. The findings suggest that effective intervention strategies should be implemented to meet the needs of children and adolescent refugees as a vulnerable group in the host community as they adjust to the language, cultural, and school barriers and to support overall growth and development.