The aim is to take advantage of a unique data set of interviews and 4 waves of questionnaire information collected from unaccompanied minor refugees (UMR) after resettlement, to get information about the dynamics of changes in mental health and socio-cult ural adaptation. We will examine the interplay between pre-migratory traumas, general and socio-cultural (e.g.culture competence and ethnic identity) risk and protective factors in relation to stability and change in psychiatric problems. By combining a t rauma perspective with a focus on cultural factors associated with resilience (positive adaptation in spite of substantial adversities), we contribute new knowledge about developmental trajectories and causes of psychiatric problems among refugee and othe r immigrant children and youth.
The study is based on information from 800 UMR residing all over Norway, of which about 560 participate two times, 400 three and 200 four times. They fill in questionnaires in groups with trained research assistants present to support them. A subgroup of 80 participants does interviews addressing exploration of ethnic identity.
This new information will be valuable with respect to identifying children at risk of stable high symptom levels or at risk for substantial increa ses in the level of psychiatric problems. Moreover, information about factors associated with resilience can guide interventions to promote their competence and strengths, in addition to ameliorate their vulnerabilities. The project provides new knowledge about the way UMR negotiate being part of different cultures over time, and what it means to their mental health. Currently, politicians, bureaucrats, and social workers pay little attention to this important part of their adaptation. Based on the result s we can suggest interventions to them on how to integrate an acculturation framework into their work, to promote the socio-cultural adaptation and mental health among UMR and other immigrant children and youth.