Unaccompanied refugee children--vulnerability and agency

Acta Paediatr. 2013 Jul;102(7):666-8. doi: 10.1111/apa.12258. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


The numbers of refugee adolescents that arrive in Europe without their families has increased in recent years, particularly in Sweden. Research has demonstrated that these children have high rates of mental health problems, particularly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, during the first years after resettlement. Despite this, there are also indications that many of these unaccompanied children are resourceful and arrive with a clear vision of a positive future in the new country. Follow-up studies in the United States and Norway have indicated fairly good social outcomes in the long term.

Conclusion: The education and care that unaccompanied minors receive during the first years after resettlement, together with their own drive to create a positive future, are key factors in their mental health and long-term adjustment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Norway
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Sweden
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations / psychology