In France, One out of Six Undocumented Immigrants Suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Prieur C. (IRDES), Dourgnon P. (IRDES), Jusot F. (Paris Dauphine University, PSL, LEDA-LEGOS, IRDES), Marsaudon A. (IRDES), Wittwer J. (University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Population Health, EMOS-INSERM), Guillaume S. (IRDES)

Questions d'économie de la santé (Issues in Health Economics) n° 266 - March 2022

QES n° 266

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced a traumatic event. It is a mental injury accompanied by physical complications that have a profound impact on private, social, and professional life. PTSD requires specific medical treatment. Undocumented immigrants may have undergone traumatic experiences in their country of origin, during the migration itself, or in the host country. Moreover, living conditions in France are likely to expose to the development of PTSD. What is the prevalence of PTSD in this so far little-known population?
What is the impact of migration conditions and living conditions in the host country on the prevalence of PTSD? Are undocumented immigrants with a PTSD covered by the State Medical Aid (Aide Médicale de l’Etat, AME)?
54% of the people interviewed in the ‘Premier Pas’ survey, which was conducted in 2019 in Paris and the Bordeaux agglomeration on 1 223 undocumented immigrants, reported they had experienced a traumatic event: 33% in their country of origin, 19% during the migratory journey, and 14% in France. PTSD prevalence reached 16% in undocumented immigrants, whereas it is estimated between 1 and 2% in the general resident population in France (Vaiva et al., 2008; Darves-Bornoz et al., 2008). Poor living conditions in France are associated with a higher prevalence of PTSD. Among immigrants eligible for the State Medical Aid (AME), 53% of those suffering from PTSD were not covered, vs. 48% in other eligible immigrants.

See also Questions d'économie de la santé n° 266 in French: Une personne sans titre de séjour sur six souffre de troubles de stress post-traumatique en France.