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

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94 Citations (Scopus)


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
Early online dateDec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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


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


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