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Aaron E. Carroll @aaronecarroll
, 20 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter

I'm going to try and use my quiet voice here. Let's not kid ourselves - there are data on what detaining kids like this can do to them. There are studies. Here are just some of them. (1/N)
A study of kids referred for help after detainment.

"Detained children were found to be experiencing mental and physical health difficulties of recent onset, which appeared to be related to the detention experience."
Structured psychiatric interviews of those held in detention:

"All adults and children met diagnostic criteria for at least one current psychiatric disorder with 26 disorders identified among 14 adults, and 52 disorders among 20 children"
A review of the effects of detention programs in Australia:

"The data from all sources converge in demonstrating that prolonged detention has adverse mental health and psychosocial impacts on adults, families and children"
A systematic review. Depressing:

"Ten studies were identified. All reported high levels of mental health problems in detainees. Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder were commonly reported, as were self-harm and suicidal ideation. "
A qualitative study of kids:

"Detention appears to be a frightening experience of deprivation that leaves children feeling criminalized and helpless. Family separation further shatters children's sense of well-being."
Another Australian study:

"Very high levels of psychopathology were found in child and adult asylum seekers. Much was attributable to traumatic experiences in detention and, for children, the impact of indefinite detention on their caregivers."
This is a study of refugee kids who might NOT have been detained. They're already hurting:

"More than a quarter of refugee children had significant psychological disturbance—greater than in both control groups and three times the national average."…
Another Australia review:

"...Australian and international research which demonstrates that immigration detention has harmful health, mental health and developmental consequences for children and negative impacts on parenting."
From Europe, a review:

"The available evidence suggests this practice is associated with high levels of psychological distress, anxiety, affective and posttraumatic stress disorder, and deliberate self-harm."
Review of "policies of deterrence":

"There is growing evidence that salient postmigration stress facing asylum seekers adds to the effect of previous trauma in creating risk of ongoing posttraumatic stress disorder and other psychiatric symptoms."
"The study found that the mental health of asylum seekers interviewed was extremely poor, including high levels of symptoms for anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder, which worsened the longer individuals were in detention."

"The post-migration detention of Afghan asylum seekers in Japan was independently related to their worsened mental health."
I could do this all day, but I'm going to stop. I'm getting outside of kids, and if I go down that rabbit hole, the list will get very, very long.

Which is depressing in itself.

A few notes before I go.This is not obviously a full systematic review. I'm sure I've missed studies
But I don't see many (if any) saying this is NOT terrible for kids and adolescents. The preponderance of evidence (and common sense) says that forced, separated detention is horrible. So it's up to those advocating for it to defend it.
And I know these are small studies. And none are controlled trials, let alone RCTs. Don't point that out. Such trials would be unethical and are never going to happen. Think before you go down that path.
Also, let's acknowledge that a number of these studies (and more on adults) were referenced in a 2017 @AmerAcadPeds policy statement, "Detention of Immigrant Children" which you can read at…

They have been all over this, long before the rest of us.
@AmerAcadPeds If I missed a big, important study, let me know and I'll try and add it to this tread. But for now, here it ends. (N/N)
@AmerAcadPeds Argh. One final note. I kept this to studies of human beings in the real world, No lab studies, no brain studies, no animal studies. Cause that's how I roll.
@AmerAcadPeds Anyone responding to me that some of these studies were of kids housed WITH parents - I know. That makes what we're doing even worse than the terrible findings here.
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