Mental health issues in unaccompanied refugee minors

Julia Huemer, Niranjan S. Karnik, Sabine Voelkl-Kernstock, Elisabeth Granditsch, Kanita Dervic, Max H. Friedrich, Hans Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies about unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) showed that they are a highly vulnerable group who have greater psychiatric morbidity than the general population. This review focuses on mental health issues among URMs. Articles in databases PsycINFO, Medline and PubMed from 1998 to 2008 addressing this topic were reviewed. The literature had a considerable emphasis on the assessment of PTSD symptoms. Results revealed higher levels of PTSD symptoms in comparison to the norm populations and accompanied refugee minors. In several studies, age and female gender predicted or influenced PTSD symptoms. The existing literature only permits limited conclusions on this very hard to reach population. Future research should include the analysis of long-term outcomes, stress management and a more thorough analysis of the whole range of psychopathology. Additionally, the development of culturally sensitive norms and standardized measures for diverse ethnic groups is of great importance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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