Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in high-income countries: risk and protective factors

Added August 3, 2017

Citation: Fazel M., Reed R., Panter-Brick C., et al. Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in high income countries: Risk and protective factors. Lancet 2011;379(9812):266-82.

Forty-four studies were included in the review to identify key risk and protective factors for mental health disorders in displaced and refugee children. There remains insufficient evidence regarding best community or societal interventions to address these factors through policymaking.

Children who resettle in host countries have higher prevalence rates of mental health disorders due to challenges faced both before and after migration. This systematic review aims to identify individual, community, family, and societal factors that could impact mental health outcomes in displaced or refugee children. Key identified risk factors include pre-migration exposure to violence, perceived discrimination, and poor financial support. Key identified protective factors include strong parental support, familial cohesion, and same ethnic-origin foster care. Limitations of the review include the narrow assessment of predictor variables, high heterogeneity of included studies, and the lack of effect sizes to inform policy implications. Longitudinal study designs with higher internal validity are required to better understand prospective predictors and the long-term effects of migration on mental health.


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.