Presentation Title

Refugee Parent Status and Mental Health Outcomes

Project Collaborators

Karen Fondacaro (Faculty Advisor)

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

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Psychological Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

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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.