The nature and impact of chronic stressors on refugee children in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp, Thailand

Sarah Meyer, Laura K. Murray, Eve S. Puffer, Jillian Larsen, Paul Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Refugee camps are replete with risk factors for mental health problems among children, including poverty, disruption of family structure, family violence and food insecurity. This study, focused on refugee children from Burma, in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp in Thailand, sought to identify the particular risks children are exposed to in this context, and the impacts on their mental health and psychosocial well-being. This study employed two qualitative methods - free list interviews and key informant interviews - to identify the main problems impacting children in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp and to explore the causes of these problems and their impact on children's well-being. Respondents in free list interviews identified a number of problems that impact children in this context, including fighting between adults, alcohol use by adults and children, and child abuse and neglect. Across the issues, the causes included economic and social conditions associated with living in the camp and changes in family structures. Children are chronically exposed to stressors during their growth and development in the camp environment. Policies and interventions in areas of protracted displacement in camp-based settings should work to address these stressors and their impacts at community, household and individual levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1047
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Burma
  • Thailand
  • children
  • mental health
  • refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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