Psychosocial Indicators of Wellbeing for Resettled Refugee Children and Youth: Conceptual and Developmental Directions

Abstract

In this article we present a framework for the development of psychosocial indicators of wellbeing for refugee children and young people which can be used to assess outcomes of interventions in the settlement context. While some experiences of refugee children and young people overlap with the general population of children and young people, many of their experiences are distinctive because of their exposure to violence prior to arrival and a range of stressors upon resettlement. Drawing on research conducted into outcome indicators at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, several indicator domains are presented that have sensitivity and specificity for resettled refugee children and young people. The domains presented are distinctive and multifaceted. They encompass the perspectives of young people, parents, and service providers. They incorporate individual and relational aspects, subjective emotional states and observable behaviours. They include signs and symptoms of disturbances to psychological wellbeing, family wellbeing, connections to social groups and community, and positive expressions of wellbeing. They have been developed with an ecological context in mind and thus take into account a range of key contextual mediating variables.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Ethics approval was granted from the VFST Institutional Ethics Committee.

  2. 2.

    Effort was made to employ interpreters that were the participants’ choice and for them to be briefed prior to the research interviews.

  3. 3.

    The researchers (IK and CM) are both psychologists with fourteen and seven years respectively of practice experience working with refugees.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the refugees and staff who participated in this study. We thank Sara Maher for her valuable contribution and recruitment of young people during this research. The study was made possible with the financial support of the Sidney Myer Fund and the William Buckland Foundation.

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Correspondence to Colleen A. McFarlane.

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McFarlane, C.A., Kaplan, I. & Lawrence, J.A. Psychosocial Indicators of Wellbeing for Resettled Refugee Children and Youth: Conceptual and Developmental Directions. Child Ind Res 4, 647–677 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-010-9100-4

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Keywords

  • Refugee
  • Children
  • Wellbeing
  • Indicators
  • Outcome