Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Purpose: This study examined refugees’ resource needs and utilization over time, investigated the relationships between pre-displacement/socio-demographic variables and resource needs and utilization, and explored the role of resource needs and utilization on psychiatric symptom trajectories. Methods: Iraqi refugees to the United States (N = 298) were assessed upon arrival and at 1-year intervals for 2 years for socio-demographic variables and pre-displacement trauma experiences, their need for and utilization of 14 different resources, and PTSD and depressive symptoms. Results: Although refugees reported reduction of some needs over time (e.g., need for cash assistance declined from 99 to 71 %), other needs remained high (e.g., 99 % of refugees reported a need for health care at the 2-year interview). Generally, the lowest needs were reported after 2 years, and the highest utilization occurred during the first year post-arrival. Pre-displacement trauma exposure predicted high health care needs but not high health care utilization. Both high need for and use of health care predicted increasing PTSD and depressive symptoms. Specifically, increased use of psychological care across the three measurement waves predicted more PTSD and depression symptoms at the 2-year interview. Conclusions: Differences emerged between need for and actual use of resources, especially for highly trauma-exposed refugees. Resettlement agencies and assistance programs should consider the complex relationships between resource needs, resource utilization, and mental health during the early resettlement period.
Depression, PTSD, Refugees, Resource need, Resource utilization
© The Author(s) 2016
Wright, A. Michelle; Aldhalimi, Abir; Lumley, Mark A.; Jamil, Hikmet; Pole, Nnamdi; Arnetz, Judith E.; and Arnetz, Bengt B., "Determinants of Resource Needs and Utilization Among Refugees Over Time" (2016). Psychology: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.