Immigrants and refugees
Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology
School of Arts and Humanities
We define immigrant and refugee and discuss the complexities of these categories. We describe the ways in which children migrate or become refugees, current global numbers and proportions, places of origin and destination, and contemporary, historical trends in migration and seeking refuge. There is a dearth of research on infants and young children specifically, so we draw upon data and studies of older children and adolescents. It is evident that refugee children, specifically, face many risks to their developmental outcomes, including the effects of trauma, dangerous migration journeys, exploitation and abuse. These can be ameliorated by appropriate psychosocial interventions in secure and stable settlement environments, although more research is needed on appropriate treatments. Moreover, refugee children show considerable resilience. Diverse developmental trajectories are also apparent for immigrant children but there is less evidence of the psychopathologies that accompany traumatic experiences than for refugee children.