Migration and displacement

What are trauma characteristics?

For a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, at least one stressor is required. Stressors as determined by the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) include being exposed to threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Examples are direct exposure, witnessing the trauma, or learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to trauma. Differences in trauma characteristics, along with differences in personal characteristics, may affect the risk of developing PTSD.

What is the evidence for the risk of PTSD in migrants, asylum seekers and refugees?

Moderate to high quality evidence found a medium-sized increase in PTSD symptoms in asylum seekers in detention compared to asylum seekers not in detention. There were small associations between more PTSD symptoms and more unfavorable everyday life experiences, subjective daily stressors, interpersonal daily stressors, material daily stressors, and mixed daily stressors in conflict-affected forced migrants. There was a medium-sized association between prolonged grief disorder and more PTSD symptoms in adult refugees.

Moderate quality evidence found the prevalence of PTSD in child and adolescent asylum seekers and refugees was around 23%. Prevalence was higher in children and adolescents displaced for less than two years than in those displaced for over two years, in asylum seekers rather than refugees, with non-native language interviewer data than native language interviewer data, and in children and adolescents resettled into refugee centres than into the community.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 12:41 am, 6th August 2021
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