Noor Abou-Rass

Impact of COVID‐19 Pandemic on Mental Health of Syrian Refugee Youth in Metro Detroit

Author: Noor Abou-Rass (neuroscience) 

Faculty mentor: Arash Javanbakht


Noor Abou-RassThe COVID-19 pandemic has placed considerable strain on the mental health of children. With the spread of illness, loss of life, transition to online learning, and social restrictions, children may be experiencing new or compounding stress. Youth resettled as refugees of Syria face larger disadvantages due to existing challenges prior to the pandemic.

As compared to their peers, refugee youth exposed to civilian war trauma and forced migration experience higher levels of anxiety and posttraumatic stress greater than that of the general population. For those who have experienced lower doses of adversity and developed stress coping skills, these youth may display greater resilience and adaptability in the wake of the pandemic. Alternatively, for those who experienced higher doses of adversity and significant trauma-related psychopathology, these youth may be at greater risk for increased mental health concerns in the wake of the pandemic.

This presentation will describe an ongoing study examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on anxiety and posttraumatic stress in Syrian refugee youth, as well as how early life adversity may mediate responses to a new stressor like the pandemic. Syrian refugee youth (n=75, male and female, ages 10-17) from a longitudinal cohort will be recruited to take part in the project. A series of questionnaires will be administered to participants through virtual interview. Results will inform public policy in targeting those at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes in the wake of the pandemic for intervention in community contexts.


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Noor Abou-Rass: Impact of COVID‐19 Pandemic on Mental Health of Syrian Refugee Youth in Metro Detroit

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