Our primary aim was to determine sociodemographic and health-related risk factors for diagnosed common mental disorders (CMDs) among young refugees in Sweden.
All young adult refugees from Iran, Somalia and Syria (n = 7192), who were residents in Sweden in 2009, were followed from 2010 to 2013 regarding diagnosed CMDs. Cox regression models were used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) of CMDs with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Those arriving as unaccompanied refugee minors had a lower risk of being diagnosed with CMDs (HR: 0.7; 95%CI: 0.6–0.9) than those arriving as accompanied refugee minors. A higher risk of being diagnosed with CMDs was also found in female refugees (HR: 1.3; 95%CI: 1.1–1.5) compared with male refugees. In addition, individuals with a low (HR: 1.7; 95%CI: 1.3–2.3) or a medium (HR: 1.4; 95%CI: 1.1–1.8) educational level were found to have a higher risk of being diagnosed with CMDs compared with individuals with a high educational level. Refugees from Iran (HR: 2.3; 95%CI: 1.8–2.9) had a higher risk of a diagnosis of a CMD than refugees from Somalia. Moreover, refugees with a diagnosis of a mental disorder other than a CMD (HR: 4.2; 95%CI: 2.8–6.1), digestive (HR: 1.5; 95%CI: 1.0–2.2) or musculoskeletal diseases (HR: 1.5; 95%CI: 1.0–2.2) had a higher risk of being diagnosed with subsequent CMDs, compared with those with no such disorders.
Pre-existing diagnoses of mental disorders other than CMDs, and digestive and musculoskeletal disorders should be carefully considered in clinical assessments to initiate early interventions to prevent CMDs.