Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Department of Family Medicine

Posted in Research

People: Sukhesh Sudan, Judy Arnetz, Bengt Arnetz

by Jolin Yamin, MA

Refugees experience distress from pre-migration trauma, often made worse by post-migration difficulties. To develop effective interventions, risk factors for mental health symptoms need to be studied. In this study, 53 male Iraqi refugees to the US provided background information and reported pre-migration trauma and psychological health symptoms within 1 month of their arrival. An indicator of inflammation—C-reactive protein (CRP) was assessed approximately 1.5 years after arrival, and the refugees’ acculturation as well as psychological health were also assessed 2 years after arrival. We tested whether acculturation and CRP were related to PTSD and depression symptoms at 2-year follow-up. Acculturation was inversely related to depression, and CRP was positively related to both PTSD and depression at 2-year follow-up. Findings from the current study highlight two factors that increase our understanding of the development of mental health problems in refugees: a contextual factor—acculturation—and an inflammatory marker—CRP. Interventions targeting acculturation and inflammatory markers might help reduce the development of PTSD and depression symptoms in refugees. Read More.