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Course of mental health in refugees : a one year panel survey

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KALTENBACH, Elisa, Maggie SCHAUER, Katharin HERMENAU, Thomas ELBERT, Inga SCHALINSKI, 2018. Course of mental health in refugees : a one year panel survey. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 9, 352. eISSN 1664-1078. Available under: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00352

@article{Kaltenbach2018-08-03Cours-42931, title={Course of mental health in refugees : a one year panel survey}, year={2018}, doi={10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00352}, volume={9}, journal={Frontiers in Psychology}, author={Kaltenbach, Elisa and Schauer, Maggie and Hermenau, Katharin and Elbert, Thomas and Schalinski, Inga}, note={Article Number: 352} }

Hermenau, Katharin Schalinski, Inga eng 2018-07-30T09:41:25Z Background: Cross-sectional studies indicate that a substantial proportion of refugees have psychiatric disorders. However, longitudinal studies on the course of psychiatric symptoms and on influencing factors are scarce. The current study investigates the development of symptoms in an untreated refugee sample in Germany and seeks to identify potential predictors.<br />Methods: Over the course of one year, 57 refugees participated in monthly assisted self-reports on the phone assessing emotional distress. At the same time, semi-annual, semi-structured clinical interviews focusing on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression were conducted. The overall dropout rate for the year was 23% for the assisted self-reports and 33% for the clinical interviews.<br />Results: Symptoms did not systematically change over the course of the year. On the individual level, a reliable change in PTSD symptoms was observed in 13% who showed improvement and 24% who showed worsening symptoms. Figures for depression symptoms were 24% and 16% respectively. A higher number of traumatic experiences was related to a greater intensity of PTSD symptoms. In addition, postmigrational stressors were associated with a worsening of PTSD symptoms over the course of the year. Emotional distress was associated with current negative life events, unemployment, and frequent visits to physicians.<br />Conclusions: There is on average no improvement or worsening of symptoms over the period of one year. However, individual courses vary, and thus show the importance of risk factors. Accordingly, the identification of risk factors such as trauma load and postmigrational stressors can be useful to determine the need of further monitoring and to provide appropriate interventions when necessary. Hermenau, Katharin Elbert, Thomas Schauer, Maggie Kaltenbach, Elisa 2018-07-30T09:41:25Z Elbert, Thomas Attribution 4.0 International 2018-08-03 Kaltenbach, Elisa Schalinski, Inga Schauer, Maggie Course of mental health in refugees : a one year panel survey

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