Asylum seekers seeking mental health services in the United States: clinical and legal implications.J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007 Sep; 195(9):715-22.JN
Asylum seekers flee their countries in search of safety due to persecution at home. Characteristics were assessed of 134 consecutive asylum seekers who sought mental health services at a program caring for survivors of torture and refugee trauma, using a chart review of patients seen between January 1999 and December 2002. Two-thirds of the sample were female, and 82% came from Africa. Eighty-four percent of the sample reported a history of torture, and one-half experienced rape or attempted rape. Most common diagnoses included posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Predictors of torture included: posttraumatic stress disorder [odds ratio (OR) = 4.93, p = 0.03], rape (OR = 4.23, p = 0.035), and political persecution (OR = 9.28, p = 0.006). Most common self-reported health problems were headaches (29.9%), sexual dysfunction (26.1%), chronic pain (12.7%), and gastrointestinal symptoms (11.2%).