Quality of Life and Chronic Illness among Refugee Populations

  • R. T. Mikolajczyk
  • A. E. Maxwell
  • A. Eljedi
Reference work entry


 Refugees are an important vulnerable population that differs from many other vulnerable populations because they are comprised of both genders and all age groups. A major distinction should be made between refugees who receive asylum in developed countries and refugees living in camps, predominantly located in developing countries. While both groups share past experiences of trauma and displacement, the living conditions and problems affecting their Quality of Life (QoL) differ: Refugees who receive asylum are exposed to similar challenges as  migrants, including loss of social networks, loneliness, limited language proficiency, unemployment, and difficulties in accessing social services or medical care in their host country. Their QoL may be additionally affected by past trauma. Refugees who live in camps may maintain social networks and their QoL in the social domain may be less affected than their QoL in the environmental domain, which can be severely reduced due to poor living conditions, overcrowding, and unemployment. Refugees in camps who suffer from chronic illnesses face additional challenges with respect to obtaining optimal treatment and adhering to treatment regimens. There is some evidence that their QoL is synergistically reduced due to both chronic disease and the camp environment.


Host Country Refugee Camp Gaza Strip Refugee Population Environmental Domain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. T. Mikolajczyk
    • 1
  • A. E. Maxwell
    • 2
  • A. Eljedi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Public HealthUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesCAUSA
  3. 3.School of Nursing, The Islamic University of GazaGazaGaza StripPalestinian Territories

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