Advertisement

Social Support in Refugee Resettlement

  • Miriam J. StewartEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 7)

Abstract

Refugees face challenges in resettlement countries, including language difficulties, acculturative stress, societal prejudice, and loneliness that jeopardize their integration. They have been exposed to violent conflicts and acute traumatic incidents, including forced separation from family members. Social support has the potential to decrease refugees’ isolation and loneliness, enhance their sense of belonging and life fulfillment, mediate the stress of discrimination and facilitate integration into a new society. Differences among refugees reinforce the need to elucidate the role of ethnicity in the design of culturally-relevant social support interventions. The studies described in this chapter explicate African refugees’ support needs, support resources and preferences for ethno-culturally based support interventions and their impacts.

Keywords

Refugee Africa Isolation Social support Support intervention 

References

  1. Ahmed, S. M., Beck, B., Maurana, C. A., & Newton, G. (2004). Overcoming barriers to effective community-based participatory research in US medical schools. Education for Health, 17(2), 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alegría, M., Takeuchi, D., Canino, G., Duan, N., Shrout, P., Meng, X., et al (2004). Considering context, place and culture: The National Latino and Asian American Study. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13, 208–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. M., Reimer, J., Khan, K. B., Simich, L., Neufeld, A., Stewart, M., & Makwarimba, E. (2010). Narratives of “dissonance” and “repositioning” through the lens of critical humanism, exploring the influences on immigrants’ and refugees’ health and well-being. Advances in Nursing Science, 33(2), 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asgary, R., & Segar, N. (2011). Barriers to health care access among refugee asylum seekers. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 22(2), 506–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrio, C. (2000). The cultural relevance of community support programs. Psychiatric Services, 51(7), 879–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beazley, H., & Ennew, J. (2006). Participatory methods and approaches: Tackling the two tyrannies. In V. Desai & R. Potter (Eds.), Doing development research (pp. 189–199). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Beiser, M. (1999). Strangers at the gate: A 10 year study of refugee settlement in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  8. Beiser, M., Wiwa, O., & Adebajo, S. (2010). Human-initiated disaster, social disorganization and post-traumatic stress disorder above Nigeria’s oil basins. Social Science and Medicine, 71(2), 221–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beiser, M., Simich, L., Pandalangat, N., Nowakowski, M., & Tian, F. (2011a). Stresses of passage, balms of resettlement, and posttraumatic stress disorder among Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(6), 333–340.Google Scholar
  10. Beiser, M., Zilber, N., Simich, L., Youngmann, R., Zohar, A. H., Taa, B., & Hou, F. (2011b). Regional effects on the mental health of immigrant children: Results from the New Canadian. Health and Place, 17(3), 822–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhui, K., Craig, T., Mohamud, S., Warfa, N., Stansfeld, S. A., Thornicroft, G., et al (2006). Mental disorders among Somali refugees: Developing culturally appropriate measures and assessing socio-cultural risk factors. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41(5), 400–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brooker, A., & Eakin, S. (2001). Gender, class, work-related stress and health: Toward a power centred approach. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 11, 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Caputo, T., Weiler, R., & Anderson, S. (1997). The street lifestyle study. Ottawa: Health Canada.Google Scholar
  14. Carpecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in education research: A theoretical and practical guide. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (2009). Facts and figures: Immigration overview: Permanent and temporary residents 2008. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/research-stats/facts2008.pdf. Accessed 10 Oct 2009.
  16. Coker, E. B. (2004). “Traveling pains”: Embodied metaphors of suffering among Southern Sudanese Refugees in Cairo. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 28, 15–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cutrona, C. (1990). Stress and social support: In search of optimal matching. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(1), 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davies, M. M., & Bath, P. A. (2001). The maternity information concerns of Somali women in the United Kingdom. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 36(2), 237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Din-Dzietham, R., Nembhard, W. N., Collins, R., & Davis, S. K. (2004). Perceived stress following race-based discrimination at work is associated with hypertension in African-Americans. the Metro Atlanta Heart Disease Study, 1999–2001. Social Science & Medicine, 58(3), 449–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Drummond, P. D., Mizan, A., Brocx, K., & Wright, B. (2011). Barriers to accessing health care services for West African refugee women living in Western Australia. Health Care for Women International, 32(3), 206–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ellis, B. H., MacDonald, H. Z., Klunk-Gillis, J., Lincoln, A., Strunin, L., & Cabral, H. J. (2010). Discrimination and mental health among Somali refugee adolescents: The role of acculturation and gender. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(4), 564–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Finch, B. K., & Vega, W. A. (2003). Acculturation stress, social support, and self-rated health among Latinos in California. Journal of Immigrant Health, 5, 109–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Foss, G. F., Chantal, A. W., & Hendrickson, S. (2004). Maternal depression and anxiety and infant development: A comparison of foreign-born and native-born mothers. Public Health Nursing, 21(3), 237–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fozdar, F. (2009). “The golden country”: Ex-Yugoslav and African refugee experiences of settlement and depression. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35(8), 1335–1352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goodman, J. H. (2004). Coping with Trauma and Hardship among Unaccompanied Refugee Youths from Sudan. Qualitative Health Research, 14(9), 1177–1196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gottlieb, B. (2000). “Accomplishments and challenges in social support intervention research”. In M. Stewart (Ed.). Chronic conditions and caregiving in Canada: Social support strategies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  27. Gottlieb, B., & Bergen, A. E. (2010). Social support concepts and measures. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 69(5), 511–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Guerin, B., Abdi, A., & Guerin, P. (2003). Experiences with the medical and health systems for Somali refugees living in Hamilton. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 32(1), 27–32.Google Scholar
  29. Harrison, A., Stewart, R., Myambo, K., & Teeraishe, C. (1995). Perceptions of social networks among adolescents from Zimbabwe and the United States. Journal of Black Psychology, 21(4), 382–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Health Canada. (1996). Peer helper initiatives for out-of-the-mainstream youth: A report and compendium. Ottawa: Health Canada.Google Scholar
  31. House, J., Umberson, D., & Landis, K. (1988). Structures and processes of social support. Annual Review of Sociology, 14, 293–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. House, J. S., Landis, K. R., & Umberson, D. (1999). Social relationships and health. In I. Kawachi, B. P. Kennedy, & R. Wilkinson (Eds.), The Society and population health reader: Income inequality and health. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jaranson, J. M., Butcher, J., Halcon, L., Johnson, D. R., Robertson, C., Savik, K., Spring, M., & Westermeyer, J. (2004). Somali and Oromo refugees: Correlates of torture and trauma history. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 591–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jorden, S., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2009). Supportive and unsupportive social interactions in relation to cultural adaptation and psychological distress among Somali refugees exposed to collective or personal traumas. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40. doi:10.1177/0022022109339182.Google Scholar
  35. Karunakara, U. K., Neuner, F., Schauer, M., Singh, K., Hill, K., Elbert, T., & Burnha, G. (2004). Traumatic events and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst Sudanese nationals, refugees and Ugandans in the West Nile. African Health Sciences, 4(2), 83–93.Google Scholar
  36. Khawaja, N. G., White, K. M., Schweitzer, R., & Greenslade, J. (2008). Difficulties and coping strategies of Sudanese refugees: A qualitative approach. Transcultural psychiatry, 45(3), 489–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lawrence, J., & Kearns, R. (2005). Exploring the ‘fit’ between people and providers: Refugee health needs and health care services in Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand. Health & Social Care in the Community, 13(5), 451–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Letcher, A. S., & Perlow, K. M. (2009). Community-based participatory research shows how a community initiative creates networks to improve well-being. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 37(6, Suppl. 1), S292–S299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Makwarimba, E., Stewart, M., Simich, L., Makumbe, K., & Shiza, E. (2013). Sudanese and Somali refugees in Canada: Support needs and intervention preferences. International Migration, 51(5), 106–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Maton, K., Teti, D., Corns, K., Viera-Baker, C., Lavine, F., Gouze, K., & Keating, D. (1996). Cultural specificity of support sources, correlates and contexts: Three studies of African American and caucasian youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 551–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maximova, K., & Krahn, H. (2010). Health status of refugees settled in Alberta: Changes since arrival”. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 101(9), 322–326.Google Scholar
  42. McKenzie, K., Hansson, H., Tuck, A., Lam, J., Jackson, F., Chodos, H., et al. (2009). Improving mental health services for immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized groups: Issues and options for service improvement. Ottawa: Mental Health Commission of Canada.Google Scholar
  43. McMichael, C., & Manderson, L. (2004). Somali women and well-being: Social networks and social capital among immigrant women in Australia. Human Organization 63(1),88–99. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3800/is_200404/ai_n9392916. Accessed 1 Feb 2009.
  44. Merry, L. A., Gagnon, A. J., Kalim, N., & Bouris, S. S. (2011). Refugee claimant women and barriers to health and social services post-birth. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 102(40), 286–290.Google Scholar
  45. Miller, F. J. (1992). Enhancing Self-Esteem. In J. F. Miller (Ed.), Coping with chronic illness Ch.16. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  46. Moon-Park, E., & Dimigen, G. (1994). Cross-cultural comparisons of the social support system after childbirth. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 25(3), 345–352.Google Scholar
  47. Morrison, J. D., Howard, J., Johnson, C., Navarro, F., Plachetka, B., & Bell, W. T. (1997). Strengthening neighbourhoods by developing community networks. Social Work, 42(5), 527–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Murray, L., Windsor, C., Parker, E., Tewfik, O. (2010). The experiences of African women giving birth in Brisbane, Australia. Health Care for Women International, 31, 458–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Neufeld, A., Harrison, M. J., Stewart, M. J., Hughes, K. D., & Spitzer, D. (2002). Immigrant women: Making connections to community resources for support in family caregiving. Qualitative Health Research, 12, 751–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nicado, E. G., Hong, S., & Takeuchi, D. T. (2008). Social support and the use of mental health services among Asian Americans: Results from the national Latino and Asian American study. Research in Sociology of Health Care, 26, 167–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Okpewho, I., & Davies, C. B. (1998). The African diaspora: African origins and new world identities. Wayne: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Reynolds, R. (2004). “We are not surviving, we are managing”: The constitution of a Nigerian diaspora along the contours of the global economy. City & Society, 16(1), 15–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schweitzer, R., Melville, F., Steel, Z., & Lacherez, P. (2006). Trauma, post migration living difficulties, and social support as predictors of psychological adjustment in resettled Sudanese refugees. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 179–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Simich, L., Hamilton, H., Baya, B. K., & Neuwirth, G. (2004). The study of Sudanese settlement in Ontario: Final report. Ottawa: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Settlement Directorate, Ontario, May 28. http://settlement.org/downloads/atwork/Study_of_Sudanese_Settlement_in_Ontario.pdf.
  55. Simich, L., Beiser, M., Stewart, M., & Makwarimba, E. (2005). Providing social support for immigrants and refugees in Canada: Challenges and directions. Journal of Immigrant Health, 7(4), 259–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Simich, L., Este, D., & Hamilton, H. (2010). Meanings of home and mental well-being among Sudanese refugees in Canada. Ethnicity & Health, 15(2), 199–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stewart, M. J. (2000). Social support, coping, and self-care as public participation mechanisms. In M. J. Stewart (Ed.), Community nursing: Promoting Canadians’ health (2nd ed, pp. 83–104). Toronto: W. B. Saunders Company.Google Scholar
  58. Stewart, M., Anderson, J., Beiser, M., Makwarimba, E., Neufeld, A., Simich, L., & Spitzer, S. (2008a). Multicultural meanings of social support among immigrants and refugees. International Migration, 46(3), 123–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stewart, M., Makwarimba, E., Barnfather, A., Letourneau, N., & Neufeld, A. (2008b). Researching reducing health disparities: Mixed methods approaches. Social Science & Medicine, 66, 1406–1417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stewart, M., Letourneau, N., & Kushner, K. (2010a). Participatory pilot interventions for vulnerable populations. Social Science & Medicine, 71(11), 1913–1915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stewart, M., Makwarimba, E., Beiser, M., Neufeld, A., Simich, P., & Spitzer, D. (2010b). Social support and health: Immigrants’ and refugees’ perspectives. Diversity in Health and Care, 7(2), 91–103.Google Scholar
  62. Stewart, M., Makumbe, K., Kariwo, M., Makwarimba, E., Letourneau, N., Kushner, K., Shizha, E., Williamson, D., Dennis, C. L., & Siziba, C. (2011, September 8). Supporting the Mental Health of African Refugee Children and New Parents: Experiences of Zimbabwean And Sudanese Refugees. ACCFCR research report, Social Support Research Program, University of Alberta.Google Scholar
  63. Stewart, M., Simich, L., Beiser, M., Makumbe, K., Makwarimba, E., Shizha, E., Anderson, S. (in press). Impacts of a social support intervention for Somali and Sudanese refugees in Canada. Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care Google Scholar
  64. Stewart, M., Simich, L., Shiza, E., Makumbe, K., & Makwarimba, E. (2012). Supporting African refugees in Canada: Insights from a support intervention. Health & Social Care in the Community, 20(5), 516–527. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2524.2012.01069.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.) (2003). Handbook of mixed methods in the social and behavioral research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  66. The Anne E. Casey Foundation, Canadian Council on Social Development and Red Por Los Derechos De La Infancia En Mexico. (2006). Growing up in North America: Child well-being in Canada, The United States, and Mexico. Baltimore: The Anne E. Casey Foundation.Google Scholar
  67. Thoits, P. A. (1986). Social support as coping assistance. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 54(4), 416–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Thoits, P. A. (1995). Stress, coping, and social support processes: Where are we? What’s next? Journal of Health & Social Behavior, 35, 53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Warner, F. R. (2007). Social support and distress among Q’eqchi refugee women in Maya Tecun, Mexico. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 21(2), 193–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of NursingUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations