Personality and psychopathology in African unaccompanied refugee minors: Repression, resilience and vulnerability

Julia Huemer, Sabine Völkl-Kernstock, Niranjan Karnik, Katherine Denny, Elisabeth Granditsch, Michaela Mitterer, Keith Humphreys, Belinda Plattner, Max Friedrich, Richard J. Shaw, Hans Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Examining personality and psychopathological symptoms among unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), we measured intra-individual dimensions (repression and correlates thereof) usually associated with resilience. Forty-one URMs completed the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (WAI), assessing personality, and the Youth Self-Report (YSR), describing current symptoms. URMs endorsed high levels of Repressive Defensiveness, Denial of Distress, and Restraint; unexpectedly, URMs reported high Distress and reduced Happiness (WAI, p's < 0.05). Although YSR symptoms were below clinical cut points, there were notable correlations between Distress and Attention Problems, Self-destructive, and Aggressive Behavior (all on the YSR), correcting for multiple comparisons (p's < 0.004). URMs exposed to non-normative stressors reported non-symptomatic outcomes, and high levels of personality dimensions correlating with resilience. However, URMs also endorsed high Distress and low Happiness, calling their resilience into question. Positive correlations between WAI Distress and YSR symptom subscales suggest that URMs harbor vulnerabilities of clinical and forensic significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Psychopathology
  • Repression
  • Resilience
  • Unaccompanied refugee minors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Huemer, J., Völkl-Kernstock, S., Karnik, N., Denny, K., Granditsch, E., Mitterer, M., Humphreys, K., Plattner, B., Friedrich, M., Shaw, R. J., & Steiner, H. (2013). Personality and psychopathology in African unaccompanied refugee minors: Repression, resilience and vulnerability. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 44(1), 39-50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-012-0308-z