The behavioral and emotional problems of former unaccompanied refugee children 3-4 years after their return to Vietnam.

Child abuse & neglect

PubMedID: 11330923

Loughry M, Flouri E. The behavioral and emotional problems of former unaccompanied refugee children 3-4 years after their return to Vietnam. Child Abuse Negl. 2001;25(2):249-63.
OBJECTIVE
The objective of this study was to examine the behavioral and emotional problems of former unaccompanied refugee children who had repatriated to Vietnam from refugee centers in Hong Kong and South East Asia. The children were compared with a matched sample of children who had never left Vietnam.

METHOD
The participants consisted of 455 Vietnamese children aged between 10 and 22 years; 238 of the children had formerly resided in refugee camps without their parents. Data were collected using the Achenbach Youth Self-Report, the Cowen Perceived Self-Efficacy scale, a Social Support scale as well as an Exposure to Trauma scale.

RESULTS
No significant difference was found between the two groups of children on the YSR Total Score. The former refugee children had significantly lower Externalizing scores and failed marginally to report significantly higher Internalizing scores than the local children. The study showed that the perceived self-efficacy, number of social supports and experience of social support did not differ between the two groups of children. Further analysis showed that a significant interaction between the immigration status of the children and the children's subjective perception of their current standard of living explained the differences in the YSR.

CONCLUSION
The results suggest that the experience of living without parents in a refugee camp does not lead to increased behavioral and emotional problems in the immediate years after repatriation.