Mental health among unaccompanied refugee minors after settling in Norway: A matched cross-sectional study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonScandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2022. 10.1177/14034948221100103
Aims: To describe the mental health of unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) settled in Norway and compare their responses to an age- and sex-matched sample of Norwegian young people. Methods: The data were from the Pathways to Independence study of URMs aged 15–20 years (n = 81; 82.7% male; response rate 80%) conducted in 2018–2019 in the Bergen municipality, Norway. The data from the URMs were linked to an age- and sex-matched group of young people from the Norwegian youth@hordaland study conducted in 2012 (n = 324). Mental health was assessed by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results: URMs were more likely to agree with most items pertaining to emotional problems, peer problems and prosocial subscales than Norwegian young people. Few differences were found for items on the conduct problems and hyperactivity-inattention problems scales. Poor psychometric properties, including weak factor loadings and low internal consistency, were detected for the SDQ subscales among URMs, except for the emotional problems subscale, indicating that the originally proposed five-factor model fitted the data poorly. Conclusions: URMs appear to have moderately more emotional problems than Norwegian young people. They are more likely to report being alone, getting along better with adults than with their peers and being bullied, but also report being more helpful and sharing with others. Studies with larger samples of URMs should determine the most appropriate factor structure of the SDQ when administered to URM samples.