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An evaluation of the mental status of rejected asylum seekers in two Danish asylum centers.
Torture. 2009; 19(1):51-9.T

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

International studies have shown high incidences of symptoms regarding anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among asylum seekers of different ethnicities. The aim of the present study was to investigate the presence of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD among rejected Iraqi asylum seekers in two Danish Red Cross asylum centers. Factors such as the length of stay in an asylum center and the number of traumatic events were considered as risk factors associated with the degree of psychological morbidity.

METHOD

In 2007, 53 rejected Iraqi asylum seekers from two Danish Red Cross centers completed a survey based on the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-IV (HTQ) and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist 25 (HSCL-25). The response rate was 36%. The analyses focused on the impact of gender, age, marriage, religion, the length of stay at the asylum center, and the number of traumatic events on the severity of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

FINDINGS

Of all participants, 94% were found to have symptoms of anxiety, 100% had symptoms of depression, and 77% had symptoms of PTSD. The participants had experienced or witnessed an average of 8.5 traumatic events before their arrival in Denmark. There was no significant association between the number of traumatic events, and the symptoms of PTSD. In addition, there was no significant difference in the length of stay and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD despite the fact that 79% of the participants had stayed in an asylum center for 5-10 years or more.

CONCLUSION

Despite the limitations of the data, such as the small sample, this study showed that the prevalence rates of psychopathology in Iraqi asylum seekers in Denmark were alarmingly high. Therefore, it is recommended that systematic screening of all detained asylum seekers in Denmark is introduced. Given the degree of mental health problems it is also recommended that procedures be changed and that treatment should be offered to asylum seekers who are detained in Danish asylum centers.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark. trine_hvid@hotmail.comNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Evaluation Study
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19491487

Citation

Schwarz-Nielsen, Kathrine Hvid, and Ask Elklitt. "An Evaluation of the Mental Status of Rejected Asylum Seekers in Two Danish Asylum Centers." Torture : Quarterly Journal On Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, vol. 19, no. 1, 2009, pp. 51-9.
Schwarz-Nielsen KH, Elklitt A. An evaluation of the mental status of rejected asylum seekers in two Danish asylum centers. Torture. 2009;19(1):51-9.
Schwarz-Nielsen, K. H., & Elklitt, A. (2009). An evaluation of the mental status of rejected asylum seekers in two Danish asylum centers. Torture : Quarterly Journal On Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, 19(1), 51-9.
Schwarz-Nielsen KH, Elklitt A. An Evaluation of the Mental Status of Rejected Asylum Seekers in Two Danish Asylum Centers. Torture. 2009;19(1):51-9. PubMed PMID: 19491487.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An evaluation of the mental status of rejected asylum seekers in two Danish asylum centers. AU - Schwarz-Nielsen,Kathrine Hvid, AU - Elklitt,Ask, PY - 2009/6/4/entrez PY - 2009/6/6/pubmed PY - 2009/8/14/medline SP - 51 EP - 9 JF - Torture : quarterly journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture JO - Torture VL - 19 IS - 1 N2 - INTRODUCTION: International studies have shown high incidences of symptoms regarding anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among asylum seekers of different ethnicities. The aim of the present study was to investigate the presence of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD among rejected Iraqi asylum seekers in two Danish Red Cross asylum centers. Factors such as the length of stay in an asylum center and the number of traumatic events were considered as risk factors associated with the degree of psychological morbidity. METHOD: In 2007, 53 rejected Iraqi asylum seekers from two Danish Red Cross centers completed a survey based on the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-IV (HTQ) and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist 25 (HSCL-25). The response rate was 36%. The analyses focused on the impact of gender, age, marriage, religion, the length of stay at the asylum center, and the number of traumatic events on the severity of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. FINDINGS: Of all participants, 94% were found to have symptoms of anxiety, 100% had symptoms of depression, and 77% had symptoms of PTSD. The participants had experienced or witnessed an average of 8.5 traumatic events before their arrival in Denmark. There was no significant association between the number of traumatic events, and the symptoms of PTSD. In addition, there was no significant difference in the length of stay and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD despite the fact that 79% of the participants had stayed in an asylum center for 5-10 years or more. CONCLUSION: Despite the limitations of the data, such as the small sample, this study showed that the prevalence rates of psychopathology in Iraqi asylum seekers in Denmark were alarmingly high. Therefore, it is recommended that systematic screening of all detained asylum seekers in Denmark is introduced. Given the degree of mental health problems it is also recommended that procedures be changed and that treatment should be offered to asylum seekers who are detained in Danish asylum centers. SN - 1997-3322 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19491487/An_evaluation_of_the_mental_status_of_rejected_asylum_seekers_in_two_Danish_asylum_centers_ L2 - https://medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -