Social anxiety among unaccompanied minor refugees in Norway.The association with pre-migration trauma and post-migration acculturation related factors


OBJECTIVE. Unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), are at high risk for mental health problems, yet there is a lack of knowledge about social anxiety among these youths. The aim of this study was to investigate symptoms of social anxiety among URMs resettled in Norway, and the combined effects of pre-migration traumatic events, post-migration acculturation related factors (perceived discrimination and culture competence in relation both to the heritage and majority cultures) and demographic background variables, over and above the effect of concurrent depressive symptoms. METHODS. Cross-sectional self-report questionnaire data were collected from 557 URMs from 31 different countries, mainly from Afghanistan (49,6%), Somalia (11,1%), and Iraq (7,0%). RESULTS. The findings from structural equation model (SEM) showed that the effect of pre-migration traumatic events on social anxiety was non-significant ($beta$ = 0.001, p = .09), while perceived discrimination and majority culture competence had unique effects on social anxiety ($beta$ = 0.39, p < .001 and $beta$ = -0.12, p = .008, respectively) over and above depressive symptoms ($beta$ = 0.30, p < .001). CONCLUSIONS. The findings show that factors of the current socio-cultural developmental context rather than pre-migration war-related traumatic events the youths experienced before migration accounts for variation in social anxiety. Potential practical implications of the findings for social workers, educational staff and clinicians are discussed.

Journal of psychosomatic research (136)
Guido Biele
Guido Biele

My research interests include statistical and cognitive modeling around ADHD.