Unaccompanied Adolescents Seeking Asylum: Poorer Mental Health Under a Restrictive Reception

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2005 Nov;193(11):759-61. doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000185870.55678.82.


We assessed the effects of a stringent reception policy on the mental health of unaccompanied adolescent asylum seekers by comparing the mental health of adolescents in a restricted campus reception setting and in a setting offering more autonomy (numbers [response rates]: 69 [93%] and 53 [69%], respectively; mean age, 16 years). Unaccompanied adolescent asylum seekers in a restricted reception setting reported more emotional problems on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist than their counterparts in the more autonomy group (mean scores [SD]: restricted, 59.3 [13.1]; other, 53.4 [10.5]; p = 0.033, F test). Main effects concerned a rise in anxiety. Girls showed larger differences than boys. A restrictive reception may therefore affect the mental health of minor asylum seekers. Health care workers and policy makers should be aware of this adverse effect.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Netherlands
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Personality Inventory
  • Public Policy*
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Isolation
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires