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Longitudinal Study: BNLA
Title: The Impact of Family Separation and Worry About Family on Psychological Adjustment in Refugees Resettled in Australia
Authors: Fogden, Georgia
Berle, David
Steel, Zachary
Publication Date: 15-Jul-2020
Journal: Journal of traumatic stress
Keywords: Trauma
Mental Health
Abstract: Few reliable predictors of postarrival psychological adjustment have been identified with regard to refugees once they arrive in their host country. We investigated the association between family separation and psychological symptoms in refugees resettled in Australia from 2013 to 2016. Participants were 1,495 adult refugees (M = 38.9 years, SD = 12.7) who participated in the Building a New Life in Australia population-based study across 4 years. Participants were assessed for psychological distress and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-8 (PTSD-8), respectively. We used latent class growth analysis (LCGA) to identify latent longitudinal trajectories and binary logistic regression to assess the contribution of family predictor variables toward PTSD-8 and K6 symptom trajectory class membership. The LCGA supported a four-class solution for PTSS, categorized as improving PTSS (18.4%), persistently high PTSS (11.5%), resilient PTSS (57.3%), and deteriorating PTSS (12.6%). For the K6, LCGA supported a four-class solution comprising classes categorized as persistently high psychological distress (PD; 7.0%), improving PD (17.3%), resilient PD (61.1%), and deteriorating PD (14.6%). Separation from family members did not independently predict the course of psychological symptoms; however, worry about family and friends contributed to the persistence of high PTSD-8 scores, OR = 1.75, and deteriorating K6 scores, OR = 1.57. The current findings suggest persistently high or worsening psychological symptom trajectories during the postsettlement phase may be marked by worry about family and friends, in addition to older age and female gender, rather than separation alone.
DOI: 10.1002/jts.22568
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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