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Resilience in Resettlement: Young People from Refugee Backgrounds Discuss Mental Health, Wellbeing and Coping Strategies.

Resilience in Resettlement: Young People from Refugee Backgrounds Discuss Mental Health, Wellbeing and Coping Strategies.

Young people under the age of 24 make up the majority of refugee arrivals to Australia each year. They are considered an at-risk group for adverse mental health outcomes due to the number of challenges they face in resettlement and the social and material resources that have been lost to them throughout the course of their refugee experiences. 

While a wide body of research addresses the mental health risks for young people from refugee backgrounds, there is limited understanding of the role that resilience plays in resettlement, and how young people from refugee backgrounds utilise their own personal assets and coping strategies to adapt to challenges. 

This paper describes a qualitative study conducted with high school students from refugee backgrounds, in Adelaide and Melbourne. Thirty five participants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East (Mean age = 16 years) discussed their experiences of resettlement and adaptation to the Australian high school system, in semi-structured interviews and focus groups.

Thematic analysis was used to identify themes relating to personal coping strategies and their role in maintaining wellbeing . This paper will discuss the impact of culture and refugee experiences on adaptation and wellbeing, the processes by which coping strategies assisted in promoting positive resettlement experiences, and the potential implications of these findings for our understanding of resilience in this population.

Speakers: Mike Oliver
Conference: AACBT

AACBT 2014

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