Cultural Identity Confusion and Psychopathology: A Mixed-Methods Study Among Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands

Groen, S. P. N., Richters, A. J. M., Laban, C. J., van Busschbach, J. T. & Deville, W. L. J. M., Mar-2019, In : JOURNAL OF NERVOUS AND MENTAL DISEASE. 207, 3, p. 162-170 9 p.

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Although there is ample empirical evidence that traumatic events, postmigration stress, and acculturation problems have a great impact on the mental health of refugees, so far no studies have included cultural identity after migration in the equation. This mixed-methods study conducted among Afghan and Iraqi refugee and asylum-seeker psychiatric patients aims to fill this gap. Associations between postmigration stress, symptoms of anxiety and depression disorders, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder were significant. When differentiated for the two groups, associations with postmigration stress were no longer significant for Afghan patients, who were predominantly younger and more often single, lower educated, and without resident status compared with Iraqi patients. Qualitative results indicate that, in addition to psychopathology and postmigration stress, acculturation problems contribute to confusion of cultural identity. The findings suggest that reduction of postmigration stress and acculturation problems may clarify cultural identity and as such may contribute to posttraumatic recovery.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2019


  • Postmigration stress, psychopathology, cultural identity, refugees and asylum seekers, trauma, MENTAL-HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS, ACCULTURATION, FORMULATION, TRAUMA, CARE, INSTRUMENT, DISORDERS, MIGRANTS, ANXIETY

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