Anger and Sadness Regulation in Refugee Children: The Roles of Pre- and Post-migratory Factors

  • Danah Elsayed
  • Ju-Hyun Song
  • Eleanor MyattEmail author
  • Tyler Colasante
  • Tina Malti
Original Article


Pre- and post-migratory factors have been implicated in refugee children’s mental health. However, findings regarding their unique and joint roles are inconsistent or nonexistent. We examined the main and interactive relations of pre-migratory life stressors and post-migratory daily hassles and routines to emotion regulation—a key marker of mental health—in 5- to 13-year-old Syrian refugee children (N = 103) resettling in Canada. Mothers and children completed questionnaires assessing pre-migratory life stressors and post-migratory daily hassles. Mothers also reported their children’s adherence to family routines and emotion regulation abilities (i.e., anger and sadness regulation) via questionnaire. Overall, children who more frequently engaged in family routines showed better anger regulation. Pre- and post-migratory factors also interacted, such that greater post-migratory daily hassles were associated with worse sadness regulation for children with lower levels of pre-migratory life stressors, but were unassociated with the sadness regulation of children who experienced higher levels of pre-migratory life stressors. Results suggest that pre- and post-migratory factors play unique and joint roles in refugee children’s emotion regulation during resettlement.


Emotion regulation Refugee children Daily hassles Life stressors Family routines 



We are grateful for the children and caregivers who participated in the study, and for the research team for their help with data collection.


No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danah Elsayed
    • 1
  • Ju-Hyun Song
    • 2
  • Eleanor Myatt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tyler Colasante
    • 1
  • Tina Malti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Child DevelopmentCalifornia State University Dominguez HillsCarsonUSA

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