Author ORCID Identifier : Ben C.H. Kuo : Lance M. Rappaport

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Transcultural Psychiatry

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Syrian refugee, depression, perceived stress, perceived control, anxiety, longitudinal




This prospective study examined the psychosocial adaptation of a community sample of newly resettled Syrian refugees in Canada (N = 235). Specifically, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and perceived control were collected in Arabic at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Two theory-informed, cross-lagged panel models demonstrated that higher baseline depressive symptoms predicted lower perceived self-efficacy and lower perceived control at 1-year follow-up. Similarly, baseline depressive symptoms were concurrently correlated with higher perceived helplessness, lower perceived self-efficacy, and lower perceived control. Secondary regression analyses further demonstrated that baseline depressive symptoms predicted lower perceived social support and higher anxiety symptoms, though neither were assessed at baseline. Empirical results identify a potentially broad, precipitating, and persistent effect of depressive symptoms on Syrian refugees' psychosocial resources and adaptation post-migration, which is consistent with both the transactional model of stress and coping and the self-efficacy theory of depression, respectively. Clinically, the study results highlight the importance of early screening for depressive symptoms among refugee newcomers within a culturally and trauma-informed, integrated health setting. Furthermore, this study underscores the value and need for theoretically guided longitudinal studies to advance future research on refugee mental health and psychosocial adaptation.


The parent project of this study was supported by a project grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR; 2016– 2021) to Dr Michaela Hynie at York University, as the principal investigator, and the first author, Ben C. H. Kuo, as a co-applicant. The project title is “Refugee Integration and Long-Term Health Outcomes in Canada” (the SyRIN.lth project).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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