Trauma transmission within the youngsters of trauma-affected refugees: threat and protecting elements


There are greater than 79.5 million displaced individuals worldwide, of which 26 million are refugees (United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees, 2020). The psychological well being results of publicity to war-related trauma amongst refugees are evident: the prevalence of PTSD and main despair vary from 9% to 30% and 5% to 31%, respectively (Fazel et al., 2005, Metal et al., 2009).

Though early analysis primarily centered on the consequences of trauma on refugees, present analysis additionally explores the antagonistic results in youngsters of trauma-exposed refugees (Leen-Feldner et al., 2013). Intergenerational trauma transmission describes how trauma publicity impacts later generations (Dekel and Goldblatt, 2008). Contemplating that parenting functioning and social surroundings can have an effect on the connection between parental psychopathology and little one functioning (Daud et al., 2008; Goodman et al., 2020), current evaluations explored the mechanisms concerned in trauma transmission between refugee mother and father and their non-exposed youngsters. Their findings demonstrated how household interactions, dysfunction, parenting, and insecure attachment might negatively have an effect on youngsters (Sangalang et al., 2017; Flanagan et al., 2020).

Kelstrup and Carlsson’s (2022) evaluation investigated the danger and protecting elements for antagonistic psychological well being outcomes to raised perceive the event of psychopathology and promote resilience in youngsters of trauma-affected refugees.

Much research has investigated the effects of trauma on refugees; however, this review sought to understand the risk and protective factors for mental distress in the children of trauma-affected refugees.

Analysis has investigated the consequences of trauma on refugees; nevertheless, this evaluation explores threat and protecting elements for psychological misery within the youngsters of refugees.


The next databases had been used to determine related research revealed prior to now 40 years: PubMed, Embase and PsycINFO.

Inclusion standards for research:

  • Households consisting of a parent-child dyad, the place the dad or mum was both a refugee or asylum seeker who had skilled trauma
  • Kids aged 0-18 years, the place a lot of the pattern of youngsters had been born within the host nation or arrived once they had been aged two or under
  • The paper needed to report on elements linked to psychological misery in youngsters
  • Written in English, German, French, Spanish or a Scandinavian language.

The information had been analysed qualitatively, as a quantitative evaluation wouldn’t have been possible given the excessive heterogeneity of the research.


Following the search of a number of databases, the researchers discovered 4 longitudinal, three comparative cross-sectional and 5 cross-sectional research that met the inclusion standards (general 12 articles).

The authors recognized 5 classes of threat/protecting elements regarding antagonistic psychological well being outcomes in youngsters of trauma-affected refugees. These are described in additional depth under.

1. Parental psychological well being signs

Most research demonstrated that parental psychological sickness is related to psychological misery of their youngsters. Extra particularly, some research discovered that PTSD, despair, and nervousness in refugee mother and father elevated their youngsters’s threat of creating psychological sickness.

2. Parenting

This class mentioned how completely different parenting kinds might both act as threat or protecting elements concerning psychological misery amongst youngsters of trauma-affected refugees.

Relating to threat elements, some research demonstrated that weaker household functioning was related to psychological misery amongst youngsters. Moreover, when mother and father don’t disclose their trauma, this might result in an insecure attachment type. Additionally, mother and father who demonstrated helplessness, imposed guilt, demanded consideration, sought course, or rejected their youngsters, had been related to signs of despair and nervousness of their youngsters.

By way of protecting elements, it was demonstrated that intra-family communication kinds the place mother and father overtly mentioned the trauma they skilled had been related to a safe attachment type in youngsters. Additionally, difficult and nuturing their youngsters and mom non-hostility was associated to optimistic dyadic functioning.

3. Parental torture publicity

Some research recognized that having mother and father who had been tortured was a threat issue for psychological misery, for instance, nervousness, despair, and PTSD. Nevertheless, youngsters whose mother and father had been tortured and accessed remedy concerning this had been much less prone to have a psychiatric dysfunction.

4. Particular person little one traits

One examine discovered that greater vanity in youngsters of trauma-affected refugees is a protecting issue towards psychological misery.

5. Social elements

It was recognized that peer relations and household relations are potential protecting elements towards creating a psychiatric dysfunction in youngsters of trauma-affected refugees. Extra particularly, youngsters with out PTSD signs had been extra prone to have excessive ranges of household and peer assist. Nevertheless, it was recognised that moms with decrease academic attainment had been a threat issue for psychological misery of their youngsters.

The review found that parental mental illness is associated with an increased risk of PTSD, depression, and anxiety amongst children.

This evaluation discovered that parental psychological sickness is related to an elevated threat of PTSD, despair, and nervousness amongst the youngsters of trauma-affected refugees.


This examine recognized a number of threat and protecting elements associated to psychological misery amongst youngsters with trauma-affected refugee dad or mum(s):

  • Threat elements included parental psychological sickness signs and oldsters imposing guilt and demanding consideration
  • Whereas protecting elements included mother and father disclosing the torture they’d skilled and peer/household relational assist.

These recognized threat and protecting elements can information the event of future interventions to enhance psychological well-being amongst youngsters of trauma-affected refugees.

Understanding risk and protective factors concerning mental illness among children with trauma-affected refugee parent(s) can result in the improved implementation of mental health services for this population.

Understanding threat and protecting elements regarding psychological sickness amongst youngsters of trauma-affected refugees can enhance psychological well being companies.

Strengths and limitations

The current examine aimed to determine a broader vary of threat and protecting elements for antagonistic psychological well being outcomes within the non-exposed offspring of trauma-affected refugees. In comparison with a most up-to-date evaluation exploring this intergenerational trauma transmission (Flanagan et al., 2020), the current examine included more moderen populations of refugees and their youngsters and two extra massive samples of 35,000 and 19,000 youngsters. Though many evaluations may be undermined by publication bias favouring bigger samples and important outcomes, lots of the evaluation’s research had non-significant outcomes. Moreover, the authors reviewed research written in a number of languages, together with English, Spanish and Scandinavian languages, due to this fact growing the generalisability of the findings because the evaluation was not restricted to 1 or two languages.

Nevertheless, there are additionally limitations current on this evaluation. All through the strategies part of the article, there was no point out of a threat of bias device used to evaluate the person research. Utilizing such evaluation instruments is essential because it offers transparency concerning the standard of proof. Because the authors didn’t point out this, it’s troublesome to weigh up the proof towards doable sources of bias. Moreover, all twelve articles included within the current evaluation had been from Western host international locations, demonstrating that current analysis primarily focuses on refugees resettled in Western international locations. Contemplating that experiences of refugee youngsters can fluctuate relying on the place they migrate, i.e., a creating or developed nation, it’s doubtless that the recognized elements would additionally differ between these international locations.

This review is limited by the lack of studies included from non-Western countries, thus reducing the generalisability of the results obtained.

This evaluation is proscribed by the shortage of research included from non-Western international locations, thus decreasing the generalisability of the outcomes obtained.

Implications for apply

Though the precise parts of efficient interventions are onerous to find out based mostly on present proof, there’s no query that psychological well being professionals ought to deal with bettering mother and father’ psychological well being and parenting practices. Contemplating the significantly low uptake of psychological well being assist amongst ethnic minorities (Bager et al., 2020), clinicians ought to purpose to offer refugees with culturally tailored remedy, growing remedy uptake. Together with adopting a curious and non-expert stance, therapists ought to put effort into creating consciousness of related cultural points, e.g., turning into extra educated about issues associated to tradition, faith, and spirituality, contemplating the relevance and the accessibility of different organisations when signposting, and reflecting on the cultural context of cognitions and beliefs (Naeem et al., 2019). For example, non secular, non secular, or cultural examples could make remedy extra related.

Optimistic parenting practices assist wholesome little one growth, however hostile parenting is a possible stressor, so therapists ought to work with refugees who’re mother and father to bolster optimistic parenting practices and household functioning according to a culturally tailored framework. Such assist can take the format of structured dad or mum coaching programmes facilitated by skilled therapists. Mother and father can then be supplied info round normal psychoeducation on early childhood growth, optimistic self-discipline, and the consequences of poisonous stress. Moreover, these programmes might encourage expertise to apply via role-plays and peer-to-peer studying via collaborative group work (Lakkis et al., 2020; Sim et al., 2021). Such programmes should account for doable exterior elements influencing parenting skills, reminiscent of language, socioeconomic and authorized standing.

Developers of interventions for children of trauma-affected refugees should prioritise improving parents’ mental health and parenting practices.

Builders of interventions for youngsters of trauma-affected refugees ought to prioritise bettering mother and father’ psychological well being and parenting practices.

Assertion of pursuits

We’ve no competing pursuits to declare.


Main paper

Kelstrup, L., & Carlsson, J. (2022). Trauma-affected refugees and their non-exposed youngsters: a evaluation of threat and protecting elements for trauma transmissionPsychiatry Analysis, 114604.

Different references

Bager, L., Agerbo, E., Skipper, N., Høgh Thøgersen, M., & Laursen, T. M. (2020). Threat of psychiatric diagnoses in youngsters and adolescents of oldsters with torture trauma and conflict traumaActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica142(4), 307-318.

Daud, A., af Klinteberg, B., & Rydelius, P. A. (2008). Resilience and vulnerability amongst refugee youngsters of traumatized and non-traumatized mother and fatherBaby and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychological Well being2(1), 1-11.

Dekel, R., & Goldblatt, H. (2008). Is there intergenerational transmission of trauma? The case of fight veterans’ youngstersAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry78(3), 281-289.

Fazel, M., Wheeler, J., & Danesh, J. (2005). Prevalence of significant psychological dysfunction in 7000 refugees resettled in western international locations: a scientific evaluation. The Lancet, 365(9467), 1309-1314.

Flanagan, N., Travers, A., Vallières, F., Hansen, M., Halpin, R., Sheaf, G., … & Johnsen, A. T. (2020). Crossing borders: A scientific evaluation figuring out potential mechanisms of intergenerational trauma transmission in asylum-seeking and refugee householdsEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology11(1), 1790283.

Goodman, S. H., Simon, H. F., Shamblaw, A. L., & Kim, C. Y. (2020). Parenting as a mediator of associations between despair in moms and kids’s functioning: A scientific evaluation and meta-analysisScientific Baby and Household Psychology Overview23(4), 427-460.

Lakkis, N. A., Osman, M. H., Aoude, L. C., Maalouf, C. J., Issa, H. G., & Issa, G. M. (2020). A pilot intervention to advertise optimistic parenting in refugees from Syria in Lebanon and JordanFrontiers in Psychiatry11, 257.

Leen-Feldner, E. W., Feldner, M. T., Knapp, A., Bunaciu, L., Blumenthal, H., & Amstadter, A. B. (2013). Offspring psychological and organic correlates of parental posttraumatic stress: Overview of the literature and analysis agenda. Scientific psychology evaluation, 33(8), 1106-1133.

Naeem, F., Phiri, P., Rathod, S., & Ayub, M. (2019). Cultural adaptation of cognitive–behavioural remedyBJPsych Advances25(6), 387-395.

Sangalang, C. C., Jager, J., & Harachi, T. W. (2017). Results of maternal traumatic misery on household functioning and little one psychological well being: An examination of Southeast Asian refugee households within the USSocial Science & Drugs184, 178-186.

Sim, A. L., Bowes, L., Maignant, S., Magber, S., & Gardner, F. (2021). Acceptability and preliminary outcomes of a parenting intervention for Syrian refugeesAnalysis on Social Work Observe31(1), 14-25.

Metal, Z., Chey, T., Silove, D., Marnane, C., Bryant, R. A., & Van Ommeren, M. (2009). Affiliation of torture and different probably traumatic occasions with psychological well being outcomes amongst populations uncovered to mass battle and displacement: a scientific evaluation and meta-analysis. Jama, 302(5), 537-549.

United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees, 2020. International developments: Compelled displacement in 2019.

Photograph credit


Supply hyperlink
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply