Mental Health of Somali Adolescent Refugees: The Role of Trauma, Stress, and Perceived Discrimination
Ellis, Heidi B.
MacDonald, Helen Z.
Lincoln, Alisa K.
Cabral, Howard C.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 76 2, 2008, 184-193 pages
The primary purpose of this study was to examine relations between trauma exposure, post-resettlement stressors, perceived discrimination, and mental health symptoms in Somali adolescent refugees resettled in the U.S. Participants were English-speaking Somali adolescent refugees between the ages of 11 and 20 (N = 135) who had resettled in the U.S. Participants were administered an interview battery comprising self-report instruments that included the UCLA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Index, the War Trauma Screening Scale, the Every Day Discrimination scale, the Adolescent Post-War Adversities Scale, and the Acculturative Hassles Inventory. Results indicated that cumulative trauma was related to PTSD and depression symptoms. Further, post-resettlement stressors, acculturative stressors, and perceived discrimination were also associated with greater PTSD symptoms after accounting for trauma, demographic, and immigration variables. Number of years since resettlement in the US and perceived discrimination were significantly related to depressive symptoms, after accounting for trauma, demographic, and immigration variables. Further research elucidating the relations between post-resettlement stressors, discrimination, and mental health of refugee adolescents may inform intervention development.