The Moderating Role of Individual Resilience in Refugee and Dutch Adolescents After Trauma

Objective: Exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) has been identified as a risk factor for various psychological problems in adolescents generally and in young refugees. The aim of this study was to examine whether individual resilience (assessed as a personality characteristic) can protect adolescents in diverse contexts from negative effects of trauma exposure. 

Method: A path model was used to assess whether individual resilience buffered the negative effects of exposure to PTEs in a cross-sectional study of adolescent refugees (aged 12–17 years; n = 117) and their Dutch peers (n = 148). Measurements included the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Satisfaction with Life Scale and the Resilience Scale. 

Results: The moderating effects of individual resilience on the relationship between PTEs and mental health problems and life satisfaction were mixed:
In the nonrefugee group, but not in the refugee group most moderation effects reached significance. Conclusion: Findings suggest that not all groups benefit similarly from individual-level resilience. 

Consequently, adolescents, who differ with regard to the risks to which they are exposed, may need different forms of support. This study points to the interplay of factors that contributes to demonstration of individual resilience.

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Marieke Sleijpen ; Niels van der Aa ; Trudy Mooren ; Cornelis J. Laban | 2019
In: Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy ; ISSN: 1942-9681 | 11 | 7 | 732-742
Adolescents, Asylum Seekers, Migrants, Netherlands, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Potentially Traumatic Events (PTEs), Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Refugees, Resilience, Traumatic events