This study investigated the level and predictors of depressive symptoms among unaccompanied refugee minors after resettlement in Norway. Participants (N = 414) were resettled in 26 municipalities from all regions of the country. The average length of resettlement time was 3.4 years. They originated from 33 different countries, mainly Afghanistan (n = 116), Somalia (n = 74), Sri Lanka (n = 41) and Iraq (n = 43). Participants completed a self-report questionnaire administered in groups. Findings show that unaccompanied minors are a high-risk group for mental health problems also after resettlement in a new country. A multilevel model predicting depressive symptoms from individual and contextual demographic factors indicated that, controlling for post-traumatic stress, females had more symptoms than males and Somalis had fewer symptoms than participants from other countries. Variation in symptom levels as a function of gender and ethnic background indicates that some groups may have inherent protective or vulnerability factors that need to be further studied to understand differences in psychosocial adaptation among unaccompanied minors. Further, findings imply that researchers, policy makers and mental health care workers need to expand their attention beyond the first phases of arrival of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee minors to the continuing experience of mental health problems after resettlement.
© 2011 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology © 2011 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations.