Background: Refugees have been shown to present high prevalence rates of trauma-related mental disorders. Despite their psychological impairment, they are expected to meet high functional requirements in terms of social integration into, and financial independence from, the host society.
Methods: This cross-sectional study examined the relationship of mental health problems, post-migration living difficulties (PMLD), and social integration in a sample of 104 refugees seeking treatment for severe posttraumatic stress and comorbid symptoms in two outpatient clinics in Switzerland.
Results: Despite an average time of residence in Switzerland of over 10 years, participants showed poor integration and a high number of PMLD. Integration difficulties were closely associated with psychological symptoms, but not with socio-demographic parameters such as education or visa status.
Conclusions: Psychological impairment in treatment-seeking traumatized refugees is associated with poor integration. To foster social integration, it is crucial to better understand and address the specific needs of this highly vulnerable population.