Assessing trauma and mental health in refugee children and youth: a systematic review of validated screening and measurement tools

Added November 28, 2017

Citation: Gadeberg A.K., Montgomery E., Frederiksen H.W., et al. Assessing trauma and mental health in refugee children and youth: a systematic review of validated screening and measurement tools. European Journal of Public Health. 2017;27(3):439-46.

Nine articles were reviewed to assess validated screening and measurement tools for trauma and mental health in refugee children and youth. Results noted a significant lack of validated trauma and mental health tools, especially for children under the age of 6.

Estimates suggest that children below 18 years constitute 50% of the refugee population worldwide. As children are continuously exposed to traumatic events, questionnaires and interview guides have been used extensively within the field, despite their lack of evidence for refugee children. Only nine studies were identified to have validated trauma and mental health tools in refugee children and youth populations. For PTSD, the identified child-specific scales included the Child Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale Interview format, Reaction of Adolescents to Traumatic Stress questionnaire, the UCLA PTSD Index for DSM-IV, the Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms in Children and the Impact of Event Scale. The tools were administered as either a written questionnaire (n=6), a semi-structured interview guide (n=1), or a structured interview (n=2). The results showed a significant lack of use of validated tools, particularly for children under the age of six. Further mental health research must be conducted in specific to refugee children and youth.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.

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