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Personality and psychopathology in African unaccompanied refugee minors: repression, resilience and vulnerability.
Huemer J, Völkl-Kernstock S, Karnik N, Denny KG, Granditsch E, Mitterer M, Humphreys K, Plattner B, Friedrich M, Shaw RJ, Steiner H. Personality and psychopathology in African unaccompanied refugee minors: repression, resilience and vulnerability. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 2013 Feb 1; 44(1):39-50.
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.