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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 322–326 | Cite as

Health Status of Refugees Settled in Alberta: Changes Since Arrival

  • Katerina MaximovaEmail author
  • Harvey Krahn
Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objective

This paper sought to examine which pre- and post-migration factors might be associated with changes in refugees’ health status.

Methods

Using linear regression, the associations between pre- and post-migration factors and changes in self-rated mental and physical health status were examined in 525 refugees from the 1998 Settlement Experiences of Refugees in Alberta study.

Results

Having spent time in a refugee camp and having held professional/managerial jobs in one’s home country were associated with a greater decline in mental health status since arrival in Canada. Having completed a university degree in one’s home country was associated with a greater decline in physical health status. Being employed was associated with greater improvements in mental health status. Perceived economic hardship was associated with greater declines in physical health status. A higher number of settlement services received during the first year in Canada was associated with greater improvements in both mental and physical health status. Longer residence in Canada was associated with greater declines in physical health status but not in mental health status.

Conclusion

While little can be done to alter refugees’ pre-migration experiences, public policies can affect many post-migration experiences in order to mitigate the negative health consequences associated with resettlement. Results of this study point to the need for continued provision of settlement services to assist refugees with job training, labour market access, and credential recognition, as well as counseling for refugees who experienced the trauma of living in a refugee camp.

Key words

Refugees mental health physical health Alberta 

Résumé

Objectif

Déterminer quels facteurs pré- et post-migratoires pourraient être associés aux changements dans l’état de santé des réfugiés.

Méthode

Par régression linéaire à partir de l’étude Settlement Experiences of Refugees in Alberta (1998), nous avons examiné les associations entre les facteurs pré- et post-migratoires et les changements dans l’état de santé mentale et physique autoévalué de 525 réfugiés.

Résultats

Le fait d’avoir vécu dans un camp de réfugiés et d’avoir occupé un emploi professionnel ou un poste de cadre dans son pays natal étaient associés à une plus forte dégradation de l’état de santé mentale depuis l’arrivée au Canada. Le fait d’avoir un diplôme universitaire du pays natal était associé à une plus forte dégradation de l’état de santé physique. Le fait d’avoir un emploi était associé à une plus grande amélioration de l’état de santé mentale. Les difficultés économiques perçues étaient associées à une dégradation plus prononcée de l’état de santé physique. Plus les services d’établissement reçus durant la première année au Canada étaient nombreux, plus l’état de santé mentale et physique s’améliorait. Avec le temps, le fait de résider au Canada était associé à une plus forte dégradation de l’état de santé physique, mais pas de l’état de santé mentale.

Conclusion

Il y a peu à faire pour modifier l’expérience pré-migratoire des réfugiés, mais les politiques publiques peuvent influer sur de nombreuses expériences post-migratoires afin d’atténuer les conséquences négatives pour la santé associées à la réinstallation. Notre étude montre qu’il faut continuer à offrir des services d’établissement pour aider les réfugiés à acquérir une formation professionnelle, à s’insérer sur le marché du travail et à faire reconnaître leurs titres de compétence, ainsi que des services de counseling aux réfugiés qui ont vécu le traumatisme des camps de réfugiés.

Mots clés

réfugiés santé mentale santé physique Alberta 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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