Refugee Parent Status and Mental Health Outcomes

Abstract

Factors linked to post-traumatic stress symptoms in adult refugees are a critical area of investigation, as refugees resettled in western countries are ten times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder than age-matched adults from the general U.S. population (Fazel et al., 2005). Although previous studies of veterans have found that being a parent contributes to post-traumatic stress symptoms, and a previous study of immigrants found that broadly-assessment emotional problems were higher in immigrants with children than in immigrants without children, no studies to date have addressed the impact of parent status on post-traumatic stress symptoms in refugee populations. Guided by the Chronic Traumatic Stress Framework (Fondacaro & Mazzulla, 2018), the current study sought to determine how parent status (being a parent or not) was associated with mental health outcomes (post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression) in a clinic-presenting refugee sample. Results revealed that being a parent was significantly associated with post-traumatic and anxiety symptoms, such that being a parent was related to higher rates of symptomology. Being a parent was not significantly associated with depression symptoms. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for mental health practitioners and social policies.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Karen Fondacaro

Faculty/Staff Collaborators

Karen Fondacaro (Faculty Advisor)

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Psychological Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Abstract only.

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Refugee Parent Status and Mental Health Outcomes

Factors linked to post-traumatic stress symptoms in adult refugees are a critical area of investigation, as refugees resettled in western countries are ten times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder than age-matched adults from the general U.S. population (Fazel et al., 2005). Although previous studies of veterans have found that being a parent contributes to post-traumatic stress symptoms, and a previous study of immigrants found that broadly-assessment emotional problems were higher in immigrants with children than in immigrants without children, no studies to date have addressed the impact of parent status on post-traumatic stress symptoms in refugee populations. Guided by the Chronic Traumatic Stress Framework (Fondacaro & Mazzulla, 2018), the current study sought to determine how parent status (being a parent or not) was associated with mental health outcomes (post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression) in a clinic-presenting refugee sample. Results revealed that being a parent was significantly associated with post-traumatic and anxiety symptoms, such that being a parent was related to higher rates of symptomology. Being a parent was not significantly associated with depression symptoms. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for mental health practitioners and social policies.