Effects of War and Organized Violence on Refugees

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In the literature about refugees and the effects of displacement upon them, certain themes are unmistakably persistent. Some of those themes could be found in Satrapi’s, Persepolis, and others could not. When Perry-Jenkins, a psychology professor, gave the Dean’s Reader class a supplementary presentation on the psychology of adolescence, she mentioned that psychological studies predominantly take place in the U.S. She also noted that cross-cultural and longitudinal studies are a more recent phenomenon in the psychology field. Perry-Jenkins also explained that most psychological studies are done in the U.S. due to funding reasons, but for whatever other reason, studies outside the U.S. are often done on children first, not adolescence or adults, hence the emphasis on children in many of the international studies I cite below.

Psychological symptoms were an overwhelming theme throughout the material I reviewed involving refugees. It is important to remember that refugees leave their home country during a difficult time, and their pre-flight stressors can be and sometimes are worse than the post-flight stressors of adjustment to a new country. In any case, psychological distress comes in many forms. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very common stressor for refugees and was noted in Jodecyr, Graham, Sourander, Hjern, and Keyes’ work. Keyes reviewed the literature about six years ago and determined that almost every article in her work mentioned the effects of PTSD on refugees. Guilt is another stressor common to refugees for many reasons. Parents may have to leave in a rush and may not be able to take all of their children, a child may be leaving parents behind, and adolescent age children may feel the guilt of leaving t...

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...Angel. "Organized violence and mental health of refugee children in exile: a six-year follow-up." Acta Paediatrica 89.6(2000): 722-727.

Jodeyr, Simin. "Where do I belong?: the experience of second generation Iranian immigrants and refugees." Psychodynamic Practice 9.2 (2003): 205-214.

Leavey, Gerald. "Psychological disorder amongst refugee and migrant schoolchildren in London." Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 39.3(2003): 191-195.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis- The Story of a Childhood. New York: Random House, 2003.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 2- The Story of a Return. New York: Random House, 2004.

Sourander, Andre. "Behavior Problems and Traumatic Events of Unaccompanied Refugee Minors." Child Abuse & Neglect 22.7(1998): 719-727.

Sourander, Andre. "Refugee families during asylum seeking." Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 57(2002): 203-207.
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