Unaccompanied status as a risk factor in Vietnamese Amerasians

Robert S. Mckelvey, John A. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study prospectively evaluates the relationship between unaccompanied status and levels of psychological distress in a group of Vietnamese Amerasians both prior to, and during, migration. Its objective was to determine whether unaccompanied migrant status functions as an independent post-departure risk factor for psychological distress, or if unaccompanied migrants are already at increased risk for, and have higher levels of, psychological distress prior to departure and the acquisition of unaccompanied status. Seventy-five Vietnamese Amerasian youth were evaluated at two points during their migration utilizing Felsman's Personal Information Form, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25, and the Youth Self-Report. The first assessment was conducted prior to migration at the Amerasian Transit Center in Vietnam, and the second during migration at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center. Unaccompanied Amerasians were found to have significantly higher risk levels for, and significantly more symptoms of, psychological distress prior to migration than accompanied Amerasians. During migration the difference in levels of psychological distress between accompanied and unaccompanied Amerasians increased beyond that attributable to predeparture risk levels alone. This significant differential increase in levels of psychological distress among unaccompanied Amerasians is attributable to unaccompanied status. Unaccompanied migrant status thus appears to function both as an independent postdeparture risk factor for psychological distress and also as a marker for increased levels of risk and psychological distress prior to migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1995


  • psychological distress
  • risk factors
  • unaccompanied migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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