SAN DIEGO — More than four out of five Syrian refugee children in the U.S. met criteria for anxiety, according to data presented at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.
To determine PTSD and anxiety rates among refugee children, a bilingual team of researchers screened adults and children at primary clinics in southeastern Michigan where refugees received health assessments within the first month following arrival to the United States. PTSD was assessed in adults, and anxiety was assessed in children. The cohort included 59 children from 20 families. Pediatric participants had a mean age of approximately 11 years.
Screening indicated 61% of children had probable anxiety diagnosis and 85% had probable separation anxiety diagnosis.
PTSD symptoms were common among adults, particularly mothers.
Children with a higher total anxiety score were more likely to have mothers with a higher PTSD score.
Children with probable separation anxiety were more likely to be younger.
Based on these findings, researchers reported interventions are acutely needed for refugee children from Syria.
The research is part of a larger study of Syrian refugees that assesses unique cultural factors and potential biomarkers of trauma. – by Amanda Oldt
Arfken CL, et al. Anxiety among U.S. Syrian refugee children. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 20-24, 2017; San Diego.
Disclosure: Arfken reports no relevant financial disclosures.