Background: In recent years there has been a progressive rise in the number of asylum seekers and refugees displaced from their country of origin, with significant social, economic, public health and mental health implications. The aim of this study is to (1) describe the level of psychological distress and frequency of psychiatric disorders in a sample of male asylum seekers and refugees across different ethnic groups resettled in Italy; (2) establish whether the number of traumatic events experienced before, during and after the migration process is associated with level of psychological distress and depressive symptoms. Methods: In two large Italian catchment areas, over a period of 1 year a consecutive series of male asylum seekers and refugees, aged 18 or above and included in the Italian protection system, were screened for psychological distress and psychiatric disorders using validated questionnaires. Results: During the study period, 252 male asylum seekers or refugees were recruited. More than one-third of the participants (34.5%) showed clinically relevant psychological distress, and one-fourth (22.2%), met the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depressive disorders. The number of traumatic events turned out to be a risk factor for both clinically relevant psychological distress and depressive disorders. Receiving good social support emerged as a protective factor, while migrants with unclear status were at higher risk of psychological distress than those holding or awaiting a permission. Discussion: In an unselected sample of male asylum seekers and refugees, after around 1 year of resettlement in Italy, the frequency of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders was substantial and clinically relevant. The association between traumatic events, especially post-migration problems, and mental health conditions suggests the need of developing services to assist refugees and asylum seekers to address the multi-faceted problems they experience, such as social support in host country, legal problems concerning permit status and asylum procedure, and family reunification, as well as addressing trauma and mental health issues.

Association of traumatic events with levels of psychological distress and depressive symptoms in male asylum seekers and refugees resettled in Italy

Nosè, Michela
;
Tedeschi, Federico;Lotito, Claudia;Purgato, Marianna;Turrini, Giulia;Barbui, Corrado
2020

Abstract

Background: In recent years there has been a progressive rise in the number of asylum seekers and refugees displaced from their country of origin, with significant social, economic, public health and mental health implications. The aim of this study is to (1) describe the level of psychological distress and frequency of psychiatric disorders in a sample of male asylum seekers and refugees across different ethnic groups resettled in Italy; (2) establish whether the number of traumatic events experienced before, during and after the migration process is associated with level of psychological distress and depressive symptoms. Methods: In two large Italian catchment areas, over a period of 1 year a consecutive series of male asylum seekers and refugees, aged 18 or above and included in the Italian protection system, were screened for psychological distress and psychiatric disorders using validated questionnaires. Results: During the study period, 252 male asylum seekers or refugees were recruited. More than one-third of the participants (34.5%) showed clinically relevant psychological distress, and one-fourth (22.2%), met the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depressive disorders. The number of traumatic events turned out to be a risk factor for both clinically relevant psychological distress and depressive disorders. Receiving good social support emerged as a protective factor, while migrants with unclear status were at higher risk of psychological distress than those holding or awaiting a permission. Discussion: In an unselected sample of male asylum seekers and refugees, after around 1 year of resettlement in Italy, the frequency of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders was substantial and clinically relevant. The association between traumatic events, especially post-migration problems, and mental health conditions suggests the need of developing services to assist refugees and asylum seekers to address the multi-faceted problems they experience, such as social support in host country, legal problems concerning permit status and asylum procedure, and family reunification, as well as addressing trauma and mental health issues.
mental health
psychological distress
refugee
trauma
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1031150
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