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Course and predictors of mental health of unaccompanied refugee minors in the Netherlands: One year follow-up


  • Bean, Tammy M.
  • Eurelings-Bontekoe, Elisabeth
  • Spinhoven, Philip


This epidemiological investigation addresses the prevalence, course, and predictors of the psychological distress and behavioral problems of unaccompanied refugee minors living in the Netherlands. The legal guardians, teachers and minors themselves all reported on the mental health of the refugee minors (n=582) at baseline and follow-up approximately 12 months later. The self-reported psychological distress of refugee minors was found to be severe (50%) and of a chronic nature (stable for one year) which was confirmed by reports from the guardians (33%) and teachers (36%). The number of self-reported experienced adverse life events were strongly related to the severity of psychological distress. Baseline psychopathology was the largest predictor of psychological distress at follow-up reported by all informants accounting for 22-51% of the variance. The present study, which used a population-based sample, further enlarges the knowledge of mental health among refugee adolescents. The investigation is unique because of the large sample size, the longitudinal nature of the study, the use of multiple informants, and the culturally diverse sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Bean, Tammy M. & Eurelings-Bontekoe, Elisabeth & Spinhoven, Philip, 2007. "Course and predictors of mental health of unaccompanied refugee minors in the Netherlands: One year follow-up," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 1204-1215, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:64:y:2007:i:6:p:1204-1215

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bean, Tammy & Mooijart, Ab & Eurelings-Bontekoe, Elisabeth & Spinhoven, Philip, 2006. "Validation of the child behavior checklist for guardians of unaccompanied refugee minors," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 867-887, August.
    2. Melville, Margarita B. & Brinton Lykes, M., 1992. "Guatemalan Indian children and the sociocultural effects of government-sponsored terrorisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 533-548, March.
    3. Kirk Felsman, J. & Leong, Frederick T. L. & Johnson, Mark C. & Crabtree Felsman, Irene, 1990. "Estimates of psychological distress among Vietnamese refugees: Adolescents, unaccompanied minors and young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 1251-1256, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Celikaksoy, Aycan & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2016. "Mapping Experiences and Research about Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Sweden and Other Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10143, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Van Holen, Frank & Blijkers, Cindy & Trogh, Lenny & West, Delphine & Vanderfaeillie, Johan, 2020. "Unaccompanied children in Flemish family foster care. Prevalence and associated factors of placement breakdown," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    3. Padyab, Mojgan & Eriksson, Malin & Ghazinour, Mehdi & Lundgren, Lena, 2020. "Unaccompanied minors and court mandated institutional care: A national registry-based study in Sweden," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    4. Thommessen, S. & Laghi, F. & Cerrone, C. & Baiocco, R. & Todd, B.K., 2013. "Internalizing and externalizing symptoms among unaccompanied refugee and Italian adolescents," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 7-10.
    5. Montgomery, Edith, 2008. "Long-term effects of organized violence on young Middle Eastern refugees' mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(10), pages 1596-1603, November.
    6. Crea, Thomas M. & Lopez, Anayeli & Taylor, Theresa & Underwood, Dawnya, 2017. "Unaccompanied migrant children in the United States: Predictors of placement stability in long term foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 93-99.
    7. Wade, Jim, 2011. "Preparation and transition planning for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee young people: A review of evidence in England," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2424-2430.
    8. Rip, Jet & Zijlstra, Elianne & Post, Wendy & Kalverboer, Margrite & Knorth, Erik J., 2020. "‘It can never be as perfect as home’: An explorative study into the fostering experiences of unaccompanied refugee children, their foster carers and social workers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    9. Manuela Stranges & François-Charles Wolff, 2019. "Does Entrance With Family Influence The Way Minors Leave A Refugee Centre?," Working Papers 201903, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    10. Milos Maksimovic & Dusan Backovic & Jadranka Maksimovic & Radojka Kocijancic, 2011. "Socio-economic status and psychosocial functioning of internally displaced adolescents and adolescents from Belgrade," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 56(3), pages 305-310, June.
    11. Van Holen, Frank & Trogh, Lenny & West, Delphine & Meys, Nina & Vanderfaeillie, Johan, 2019. "Concept mapping the needs of Flemish nonkinship foster parents who care for unaccompanied refugee minors," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 84-92.
    12. Siegel, M. & Buil, C., 2014. "Afghan unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands: Far away from home and protected?," MERIT Working Papers 2014-037, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    13. Pastoor, Lutine de Wal, 2015. "The mediational role of schools in supporting psychosocial transitions among unaccompanied young refugees upon resettlement in Norway," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 245-254.


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