Experiences of Arriving to Sweden as an Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Minor from Afghanistan: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

O’Toole Thommessen, S.A., Corcoran, P. & Todd, B. (2015). Experiences of Arriving to Sweden as an Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Minor from Afghanistan: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Psychology of Violence, 5(4), pp. 374-383. doi: 10.1037/a0038842

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Abstract

Objective: The number of individuals seeking refuge and safety in European and Western host-societies has increased in recent years and there is no evidence to suggest that this trend will reverse in the foreseeable future. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and youth are particularly vulnerable to risk. The detrimental influence of political conflicts, war and forced migration on asylum-seeking individuals’ mental health is well-documented; however, the stressors encountered after arrival to the host-country have been investigated less frequently. This study explored how a group of six male refugees from Afghanistan experienced arriving to the Swedish host-society as unaccompanied minors, and how they perceived the support available to them.

Methods: Based on individual semi-structured interviews, an interpretative phenomenological analysis was carried out to explore the perceived risks and protective factors during the first months and years in the host-society.

Results: The qualitative findings draw attention to the crucial importance of clarifying the complex asylum-seeking process, the protective influence of social support, the importance of educational guidance, and participant’s strong desire to fit in and move forward with their lives.

Conclusion: The resulting information can inform the practice of supporting asylum-seeking youths’ adaptation in host-societies and in developing assessment measures and interventions for these groups. Specifically, the results indicate the protective role of social support and highlight the potential value of mentoring schemes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Unaccompanied minors, refugees, social support, risk and resilience, children and war
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/8066

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