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Effects of posttraumatic stress disorder and mental disorders on the labor market integration of young Syrian refugees
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Civil war-experience in the Syrian home country, insecurity and critical life events during migration or adverse events in the receiving country might affect refugees’ mental health. This paper addresses the effects of psychological distress and mental disorders on refugees' labor market integration in Germany between 2016 and 2021. We employ survey data from about 2,700 young Syrians delivering information on individuals' experience of migration and arrival in Germany in 2016. The survey data were successfully merged with register data delivering detailed information regarding individuals' process of labor market integration and employment status from 2016 to 2021. Overall, labor market integration of young refugees improved over time and reached a 69% integration score in 2021; 30% were employed in fulltime contracts. However, the results indicate long-lasting effects of PTSD and mental disorders on individuals’ labor market integration whilst individuals’ characteristics related to migration and arrival loose relevance over time and hardly affect labor market integration around five years after arrival. High PTSD scores in 2016 indicate significantly lower full-time employment probabilities in 2021. Anxiety and depression show significant negative effects on individuals' labor market integration, but with a less severe impact compared to a PTSD diagnosis.
Dr Hans Dietrich is a Senior researcher, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg (since 1991) and adjunct professor at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen/Nürnberg (since 1991). Hans’ research interests include sociology of education and qualification, life course research, labour market research, school to work transitions and youth unemployment in Germany and Europe, labour market policy for young people.