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

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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.

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