Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Previous refugee research has been unable to link pre-displacement trauma with unemployment in the host country. The current study assessed the role of pre-displacement trauma, post-displacement trauma, and the interaction of both trauma types to prospectively examine unemployment in a random sample of newly-arrived Iraqi refugees. Participants (N = 286) were interviewed three times over the first two years post-arrival. Refugees were assessed for pre-displacement trauma exposure, post-displacement trauma exposure, a history of unemployment in the country of origin and host country, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Analyses found that neither pre-displacement nor post-displacement trauma independently predicted unemployment 2 years post-arrival; however, the interaction of pre and post-displacement trauma predicted 2-year unemployment. Refugees with high levels of both pre and post-displacement trauma had a 91% predicted probability of unemployment, whereas those with low levels of both traumas had a 20% predicted probability. This interaction remained significant after controlling for sociodemographic variables and mental health upon arrival to the US. Resettlement agencies and community organizations should consider the interactive effect of encountering additional trauma after escaping the hardships of the refugee's country of origin.
mental health, post-displacement trauma, pre-displacement trauma, refugee, trauma, Unemployment
© The Author(s) 2016
Wright, A. Michelle; Dhalimi, Abir; Lumley, Mark A.; Jamil, Hikmet; Pole, Nnamdi; Arnetz, Judith E.; and Arnetz, Bengt B., "Unemployment in Iraqi Refugees: The Interaction of Pre and Post-Displacement Trauma" (2016). Psychology: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.