Everyday life experiences and mental health among conflict-affected forced migrants: A meta-analysis

Wai Kai HOU, Huinan LIU, Li LIANG, Jeffery HO, Hyojin KIM, Eunice SEONG, George A. BONANNO, Stevan E. HOBFOLL, Brian J. HALL

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: There are a growing number of forced migrants worldwide. Early detection of poor adjustment and interventions to facilitate positive adaptation within these communities is a critical global public health priority. A growing literature points to challenges within the post-migration context as key determents of poor mental health.

Aims: The current meta-analysis evaluated the association between daily stressors and poor mental health among these populations.

Method: A systematic search in PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science identified relevant studies from inception until the end of 2018. Effect sizes (correlation coefficients) were pooled using Fisher's Z transformation and reported with 95% confidence intervals. Moderator and mediator analyses were conducted. The protocol is available in PROSPERO [CRD42018081207].

Results: Analysis of 59 eligible studies (n=17,763) revealed that daily stressors were associated with higher psychiatric symptoms (Zr=0.126-0.199, 95% CI=0.084-0.168, 0.151-0.247, p<0.001) and general distress (Zr=0.542, 95% CI=0.332-0.752, p<0.001). Stronger effect sizes were observed for mixed daily stressors relative to subjective, interpersonal, and material daily stressors, and for general distress relative to posttraumatic stress symptoms and general well-being. Effect sizes were also stronger for children and adolescents relative to adults. Daily stressors fully mediated the associations of prior trauma with post-migration anxiety, depressive, and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides a synthesis of existing research on the role of unfavorable everyday life experiences and their associations with poor mental health among conflict-affected forced migrants. Routine assessment and intervention to reduce daily stressors can prevent and reduce psychiatric morbidity in these populations. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-68
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume264
Early online dateDec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2019

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Life Change Events
Meta-Analysis
Mental Health
Psychiatry
Social Adjustment
Health Priorities
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
PubMed
Population
Anxiety
Public Health
Confidence Intervals
Morbidity
Wounds and Injuries
Research
Conflict (Psychology)

Citation

Hou, W. K., Liu, H., Liang, L., Ho, J., Kim, H., Seong, E., . . . Hall, B. J. (2020). Everyday life experiences and mental health among conflict-affected forced migrants: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 264, 50-68. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.165

Keywords

  • Everyday life
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Refugees
  • Forced migrants