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Unaccompanied adolescents seeking asylum: Poorer mental health under a restrictive reception

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Author: Reijneveld, S.A. · Boer, · Bean, T. · Korfker, D.G.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 11, 193, 759-761
Identifier: 238781
doi: doi:10.1097/01.nmd.0000185870.55678.82
Keywords: Health · Jeugd en Gezondheid · Anxiety · Mental health · PTSS · Age · Controlled study · Emotional disorder · Health care personnel · Hopkins symptom checklist · Immigration · Major clinical study · Policy · Posttraumatic stress disorder · School · Scoring system · Sex difference · Symptom · Unaccompanied adolescent seeking asylum · Adolescent · Adolescent Behavior · Affective Symptoms · Female · Humans · Male · Mental Disorders · Netherlands · Personal Autonomy · Personality Inventory · Public Policy · Questionnaires · Refugees · Social Isolation · Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic


We assessed the effects of a stringent reception policy on the mental health of unaccompanied adolescent asylum seekers by comparing the mental health of adolescents in a restricted campus reception setting and in a setting offering more autonomy (numbers [response rates]: 69 [93%] and 53 [69%], respectively; mean age, 16 years). Unaccompanied adolescent asylum seekers in a restricted reception setting reported more emotional problems on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist than their counterparts in the more autonomy group (mean scores [SD]: restricted, 59.3 [13.1]; other, 53.4 [10.5]; p = 0.033, F test). Main effects concerned a rise in anxiety. Girls showed larger differences than boys. A restrictive reception may therefore affect the mental health of minor asylum seekers. Health care workers and policy makers should be aware of this adverse effect. Copyright © 2005 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.