Next Article in Journal
Growth after Trauma: The Role of Self-Compassion following Hurricane Harvey
Previous Article in Journal
The Model of Systemic Relational Violence: Conceptualizing IPV as a Method of Continual and Enforced Domination
Article

Symptoms of PTSD and Depression among Central American Immigrant Youth

1
Department of Sociology, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA
2
Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA
3
Immigration Lab, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA
4
Independent Researcher, Arlington, VA 22204, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Trauma Care 2021, 1(2), 99-118; https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1020010
Received: 1 April 2021 / Revised: 27 July 2021 / Accepted: 6 August 2021 / Published: 11 August 2021
The aim of this paper is to explore the mental health challenges that Central American immigrant youth face before and after arriving in the United States. This population is hard to reach, marginalized, and disproportionately exposed to trauma from a young age. This paper investigates the mental health stressors experienced by Central American immigrant youth and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, surveyed in the U.S. in 2017. This mixed methods study uses qualitative data from interviews along with close-ended questions and the validated PHQ-8 Questionnaire and the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS). These new migrants face numerous challenges to mental health, increased psychopathological risk exacerbated by high levels of violence and low state-capacity in their countries of origin, restrictive immigration policies, the fear of deportation for themselves and their family members, and the pressure to integrate once in the U.S. We find that Central American youth have seen improvements in their self-reported mental health after migrating to the U.S., but remain at risk of further trauma exposure, depression, and PTSD. We find that they exhibit a disproportionate likelihood of having lived through traumatizing experiences that put them at higher risk for psychological distress and disorders that may create obstacles to integration. These can, in turn, create new stressors that exacerbate PTSD, depression, and anxiety. These conditions can be minimized through programs that aid immigrant integration and mental health. View Full-Text
Keywords: trauma; unaccompanied minors; migration; Central American youth; transnational families; generational trauma; immigrant integration; social determinants of mental health trauma; unaccompanied minors; migration; Central American youth; transnational families; generational trauma; immigrant integration; social determinants of mental health
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Castañeda, E.; Jenks, D.; Chaikof, J.; Cione, C.; Felton, S.; Goris, I.; Buck, L.; Hershberg, E. Symptoms of PTSD and Depression among Central American Immigrant Youth. Trauma Care 2021, 1, 99-118. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1020010

AMA Style

Castañeda E, Jenks D, Chaikof J, Cione C, Felton S, Goris I, Buck L, Hershberg E. Symptoms of PTSD and Depression among Central American Immigrant Youth. Trauma Care. 2021; 1(2):99-118. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1020010

Chicago/Turabian Style

Castañeda, Ernesto, Daniel Jenks, Jessica Chaikof, Carina Cione, SteVon Felton, Isabella Goris, Lesley Buck, and Eric Hershberg. 2021. "Symptoms of PTSD and Depression among Central American Immigrant Youth" Trauma Care 1, no. 2: 99-118. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1020010

Find Other Styles

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop