An exploration of the protective factors for social-emotional well-being of refugee children in the first three years of settlement in Australia. The presentation is based on a longitudinal study to investigate the protective factors for social-emotional well-being in newly arrived children from refugee backgrounds in Australia.
In this research, newly arrived refugee children aged 4-17 years were recruited between 2009 and 2013 and assessments conducted 2-3 years post arrival. Social-emotional well-being was assessed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Protective factors were assessed by structured interview and the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS); scores <150 reflect fewer stressful life events in the previous year.
Results of the study indicated that cumulative protective factors, some of which are potentially modifiable, can predict social-emotional well-being in newly arrived refugee children. Children with four or more protective factors are at low risk of poor social-emotional well-being. Identification of children with fewer protective factors allows proactive follow-up to improve settlement outcomes.