Background: Young refugees and descendants of refugees have different preconditions for learning than their peers without refugee background. Children growing up in families where parents have suffered torture and war trauma may represent a particularly vulnerable group. This study investigates whether children of torture survivors living in Denmark achieved different test scores throughout primary and secondary school compared to children of non-traumatized parents. Methods: Using data from a national school test programme, tests from Grades 2-8 were compared for children whose parents had been treated for torture and war trauma as to their peers. Referral to specialized rehabilitation clinics was used to identify the traumatized parent group. The mean score difference was estimated using multilevel linear regression, and outcomes were measured within groups of parental region of origin to allow for region-specific effects. The odds of missing a test were also estimated with multilevel logistic regression. Results: The study included 854 467 children [median age (interquartile range) =12 (3.3)] of which 7809 were children of the trauma-exposed parents. The analysis revealed that children of torture survivors achieved test scores between-6% (95% CI:-0.13, 0.00) and-38% (95% CI:-0.44,-0.32) of a standard deviation compared to children of non-traumatized parents, adjusted for the main effect of region of origin. They were also more likely to miss a test [OR=4.95 (95% CI: 4.30, 5.71)]. Conclusions: The findings indicate that risk factors for poorer school performance cluster in children of traumatized refugee parents, and reveal the possible adverse educational effects of trauma across generations.

DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab108
ISSN: 1101-1262