Child Mental Health in the Context of War: An Overview of Risk Factors and Interventions for Refugee and War-Affected Youth

  • Elizabeth A. NewnhamEmail author
  • Shraddha Kashyap
  • Jessica Tearne
  • Mina Fazel


An unprecedented number of children and adolescents are migrating to escape war and persecution, often unaccompanied by family (UNHCR: Global trends forced displacement in 2015. The UN Refugee Agency, Geneva, 2016). These children face security and health risks in their country of origin, on the journey to safety, and sometimes in their place of resettlement. The trauma and hardships that accompany these experiences have potential to create significant mental health difficulties. This chapter aims to review the risk factors associated with mental health disorders among refugee children and adolescents exposed to war, violence and displacement, and to critically review the effectiveness of psychological interventions recently used with this population. Precipitating and maintaining factors that influence the expression of mental health difficulties and resilience among children and adolescents affected by war are discussed according to a social ecological framework. While the effectiveness of individual, group- and school-based interventions is compelling, more evidence is needed to determine optimal models of intervention delivery for this population.


Child Adolescent Refugee Post-conflict Interventions Resettlement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Newnham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shraddha Kashyap
    • 2
  • Jessica Tearne
    • 3
  • Mina Fazel
    • 4
  1. 1.School of PsychologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.State Major Trauma Unit, Royal Perth HospitalHealth Department of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryOxford UniversityOxfordUK

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