Symptoms of PTSD and Depression among Central American Immigrant Youth


These new migrants face numerous challenges to mental health, increased psychopathological risk exacerbated by high levels of violence and low state-capacity in their countries of origin, restrictive immigration policies, the fear of deportation for themselves and their family members, and the pressure to integrate once in the U.S. We find that Central American youth have seen improvements in their self-reported mental health after migrating to the U.S., but remain at risk of further trauma exposure, depression, and PTSD. We find that they exhibit a disproportionate likelihood of having lived through traumatizing experiences that put them at higher risk for psychological distress and disorders that may create obstacles to integration. These can, in turn, create new stressors that exacerbate PTSD, depression, and anxiety. These conditions can be minimized through programs that aid immigrant integration and mental health.

Key wordschildren / forced migration / Migrant children / refugee children

CountriesCentral America