Practitioner review: Mental health problems of refugee children and adolescents and their management

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Title: Practitioner review: Mental health problems of refugee children and adolescents and their management
Authors: Hodes, M
Vostanis, P
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Since 2010, the numbers of refugees have increased and around half are under 18 years of age. It is known that experience of organised violence, displacement and resettlement increases the risk for psychiatric disorders and psychosocial impairment. This review integrates recent research into the risk and protective factors for psychopathology with service and treatment issues. METHODS: We draw on and critically evaluate key systematic reviews in the selected areas, innovative robust studies and relevant government reports. RESULTS: Many refugee children show resilience and function well, even in the face of substantial adversities. The most robust findings for psychopathology are that PTSD, and posttraumatic and depressive symptoms are found at higher prevalence in those who have been exposed to war experiences. Their severity may decrease over time with resettlement, but PTSD in the most exposed may show higher continuity. More severe psychiatric disorders including psychosis may also occur. Service delivery needs to take into account socioeconomic and cultural influences but, given the high level of unmet need even in high-income countries, stepped care delivery is required. The evaluation of psychological interventions, often delivered in group settings, suggests that they can be effective for many distressed children; however, for the more impaired, a greater range of disorder-specific therapies will be required. CONCLUSIONS: Child and adolescent mental health clinicians and service providers need to be aware of the specific needs of this population and systems for service delivery. There are significant knowledge gaps in understanding risk and vulnerability, service delivery and treatment effectiveness.
Issue Date: 13-Dec-2018
Date of Acceptance: 9-Oct-2018
ISSN: 0021-9630
Publisher: Wiley
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. This is the accepted version of the following article: Hodes, M. and Vostanis, P. (2018), Practitioner Review: Mental health problems of refugee children and adolescents and their management. J Child Psychol Psychiatr., which has been published in final form at
Keywords: Refugees
posttraumatic stress disorder
service development
war trauma
1103 Clinical Sciences
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Science
Developmental & Child Psychology
Publication Status: Published online
Conference Place: England
Embargo Date: 2019-12-13
Online Publication Date: 2018-12-13
Appears in Collections:Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine

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