A recent study published by the Finnish University of Turku shows that children born to immigrant parents are more prone to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those whose parents are native born.
The study involved 3,639 children born in Finland during 1987–2012, who were diagnosed with PTSD.
According to the main author of the study, Sanju Silwal, ‘the risk of inherited PTSD was almost double among children who were born less than five years after their fathers immigrated to Finland’.
Moreover, the research reveals that immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East are more likely to pass on PTSD symptoms to their children because many refugees from these regions arrive to their host countries after fleeing traumatic experiences.
The study also notes that PTSD symptoms include ‘reliving difficult memories, avoidance of trauma triggers, trouble with cognition and moods as well as a heightened alertness caused by anxiety’.
Researchers advise that due to a growth of immigrant populations in Finland, professionals working in sectors such as education or health, who deal with children, should be more aware of children’s diverse cultural backgrounds and their vulnerability to PTSD symptoms.
When not addressed accordingly, PTSD may lead to serious mental health issues like depression, or to cardiovascular diseases.