The impact of detention on the health of asylum seekers

Added August 3, 2017

Citation: Filges T., Montgomery E., Kastrup M., et al. The impact of detention on the health of asylum seekers. Campbell Collaboration Library 2015-09-01 Volume 11, number 13.

This review suggests that there is an independent adverse effect of detention on the mental health of asylum seekers. However, this conclusion should be interpreted cautiously as the review is only based on three studies.

To discourage asylum seekers, many Western countries confine asylum seekers in detention facilities as an administrative procedure. This review aims to determine if detention influences the mental and physical health of asylum seekers. Three studies were included in the analysis, for a total of 359 participants across the three studies. Two studies provided data for participants currently experiencing detention, while the other study provided data following the months after participants were released. The review found that PTSD, depression, and anxiety could be adversely attributed to detention of asylum-seekers. This negative effect on mental health was found both during detention and immediately following release. However, as the review only included three studies, additional research is required to substantiate any conclusions and inform any policy decision making.


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.