Surveys were based on a Likert scale of “nunca,” “un poco,” “bastante,” or “mucho” with points between one and four respectively. Scores were added for each section, then divided by the number of items to obtain a total score for each outcome.
The cutoff for symptomaticity for anxiety and depression is 1.75: ≥1.75 indicates symptomatic for anxiety and depression.
The cutoff for PTSD is 2.0: ≥ 2.0 indicates symptomatic for PTSD.
For anxiety, the mean was 2.036 and the standard deviation was .72. The five-point summary was 1, 1.48, 1.85, 2.53 and 3.4. For depression, the mean was 2.06 and the standard deviation was .65. The five-point summary was 1, 1.53, 1.97, 2.56 and 3.6. For PTSD, the mean was 1.94 and the standard deviation was .66. The five-point summary was 1.03, 1.41, 1.98, 2.52, and 3.2.
For anxiety and depression, the mean is above the cutoff of 1.75 for positive symptomatology thus, more than half of all respondents reported symptoms of depression and anxiety at rates that indicate clinically significant symptoms of these outcomes. For PTSD, the mean did not reach the clinically significant cutoff of 2.0 however, the mean was within .02 percent of the cutoff score of 2.0. Thus nearly half of all respondents reported clinically significant symptoms of PTSD.
Surveys used were the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, child versions. The cutoff score for positive symptomaticity for anxiety and depression was ≥1.75. The cutoff score for positive symptomaticity for PTSD was ≥2.0. Two of the children reported extremely high scores for all three mental health outcomes. One of the children was not able to complete the interview because the family was leaving for the bus station.
The sample was extremely small so any generalization should be made with caution. Further research is needed to understand the scope of mental health issues among Central American refugee children however, these scores are a cause for concern.