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 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abdel-Khalek AM, Al-Arja NS, Abdalla T. (2006). Death Stud. 30: 203–215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afana A, Dalgard OS, Bjertness E, Grunfeld B, Hauff E. (2002). J Refug Studies. 15: 283–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aggarwal NK. (2007). Soc Sci Med. 65: 1654–1665.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aghamollaei T, Eftekhar H, Shojaeizadeh D, Mohammad K, Nakhjavani M, Ghofrani Pour F. (2003). Iranian J publ Health. 32: 54–59.Google Scholar
  5. Al-Khatib I, Ju'ba A, Kamal N, Hamed N, Hmeidan N, Massad S. (2003). Int J Environ Health Res. 13: 315–326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Al-Khatib IA, Arafat RN, Musmar M. (2005). Int J Environ Health Res. 15: 181–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Al-Khatib IA, Tabakhna H. (2006). East Mediterr Health J. 12: 144–152.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Almedom AM, Tesfamichael B, Saeed Mohammed Z, Mascie-Taylor CG, Alemu Z. (2007). J Biosoc Sci. 39: 91–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Almqvist K, Broberg AG. (1999). J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 38: 723–730.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Araya M, Chotai J, Komproe IH, de Jong JT. (2007). Qual Life Res. 16: 915–927.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Baune BT, Aljeesh Y. (2006). Ann Gen Psychiatry. 5: 6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beiser M, Hou F. (2001). Soc Sci Med. 53: 1321–1334.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Beiser M, Wickrama KA. (2004). Psychol Med. 34: 899–910.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Berman H, Giron ER, Marroquin AP. (2006). Can J Nurs Res. 38: 32–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Blight KJ, Ekblad S, Persson JO, Ekberg J. (2006). Soc Sci Med. 62: 1697–1709.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Boccia D, Guthmann JP, Klovstad H, Hamid N, Tatay M, Ciglenecki I, Nizou JY, Nicand E, Guerin PJ. (2006). Clin Infect Dis. 42: 1679–1684.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Boehnlein JK, Kinzie JD, Sekiya U, Riley C, Pou K, Rosborough B. (2004). J Nerv Ment Dis. 192: 658–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bradley L, Tawfiq N. (2006). Torture. 16: 41–47.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Carlsson JM, Mortensen EL, Kastrup M. (2005). J Nerv Ment Dis. 193: 651–657.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carlsson JM, Mortensen EL, Kastrup M. (2006a). Nord J Psychiatry. 60: 51–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Carlsson JM, Olsen DR, Mortensen EL, Kastrup M. (2006b). J Nerv Ment Dis. 194: 725–731.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Carta MG, Bernal M, Hardoy MC, Haro-Abad JM. (2005). Clin Pract Epidemol Ment Health. 1: 13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cronin AA, Shrestha D, Cornier N, Abdalla F, Ezard N, Aramburu C. (2008). J Water Health. 6: 1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eljedi A, Mikolajczyk RT. (2006). Eur J Epidemiol. 21(Supp): 81.Google Scholar
  25. Eljedi A, Mikolajczyk RT, Kraemer A, Laaser U. (2006). BMC Public Health. 6: 268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fazel M, Wheeler J, Danesh J. (2005). Lancet. 365: 1309–1314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fenta H, Hyman I, Noh S. (2004). J Nerv Ment Dis. 192: 363–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gbakima AA, Konteh R, Kallon M, Mansaray H, Sahr F, Bah ZJ, Spencer A, Luckay A. (2007). Afr J Med Med Sci. 36: 1–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Giacaman R, Abu-Rmeileh NM, Husseini A, Saab H, Boyce W. (2007). Public Health. 121: 563–571; discussion 572–577.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Godfrey N, Kalache A. (1989). Soc Sci Med. 28: 707–713.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gorst-Unsworth C, Goldenberg E. (1998). Br J Psychiatry. 172: 90–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Habib RR, Basma SH, Yeretzian JS. (2006). Int J Environ Health Res. 16: 99–111.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hafeez A, Riaz R, Shah SU, Pervaiz J, Southall D. (2004). BMJ. 328: 834–836.Google Scholar
  34. Halabi JO. (2005). Int Nurs Rev. 52: 270–275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Halcon LL, Robertson CL, Savik K, Johnson DR, Spring MA, Butcher JN, Westermeyer JJ, Jaranson JM. (2004). J Adolesc Health. 35: 17–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Harris M, Zwar N. (2005). Aust Fam Physician. 34: 825–829.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Hollifield M, Warner TD, Lian N, Krakow B, Jenkins JH, Kesler J, Stevenson J, Westermeyer J. (2002). JAMA. 288: 611–621.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hooberman JB, Rosenfeld B, Lhewa D, Rasmussen A, Keller A. (2007). J Interpers Violence. 22: 108–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hyder AA, Noor Z, Tsui E. (2007). Soc Sci Med. 64: 1536–1547.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Keller A, Lhewa D, Rosenfeld B, Sachs E, Aladjem A, Cohen I, Smith H, Porterfield K. (2006). J Nerv Ment Dis. 194: 188–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Khamis V. (2005). Child Abuse Negl. 29: 81–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Khawaja M. (2004). Soc Sci Med. 58: 463–470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Khawaja M, Abdulrahim S, Soweid RA, Karam D. (2006). Soc Sci Med. 63: 1304–1315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kivling-Boden G, Sundbom E. (2001). Nord J Psychiatry. 55: 401–408.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Laban CJ, Gernaat HB, Komproe IH, De Jong JT. (2007). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 42: 837–844.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lerner D, Levine S. (1994). Adv Med Sociol. 5: 43–65.Google Scholar
  47. Lie B (2002). Acta Psychiatr Scand. 106: 415–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lindencrona F, Ekblad S, Hauff E. (2008). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 43: 121–131.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lonergan S. (1998). Environ Change Secur Proj Rep. Spring. 4: 5–15.Google Scholar
  50. Luxemburger C, Rigal J, Nosten F. (1998). Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 92: 129–130.Google Scholar
  51. Madi HH. (2000). Lancet. 356: 312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Makhoul J, Nakkash R. (2007). Health Promot Pract.Google Scholar
  53. Matsunaga C, Ristic D, Niregi M. (2006). Psychiatr Danub. 18: 177–182.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Mechanic D, Tanner J. (2007). Health Aff (Millwood). 26: 1220–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mollica RF, Caridad KR, Massagli MP. (2007). J Nerv Ment Dis. 195: 572–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Montgomery E, Foldspang A. (2008). Eur J Public Health. 18: 156–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Norholm V, Bech P. (2001). Nord J Psychiatry. 55: 229–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Odero W, Otieno-Nyunya B. (2001). East Afr Med J. 78: 666–672.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Opalic P. (2003). Med Pregl. 56: 465–475.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pavlish C. (2005). Health Care Women Int. 26: 880–896.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pavlish C. (2007). Int Nurs Rev. 54: 28–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Porter M, Haslam N. (2005). JAMA. 294: 602–612.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rothe EM, Lewis J, Castillo-Matos H, Martinez O, Busquets R, Martinez I. (2002). Psychiatr Serv. 53: 970–976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rousseau C, Drapeau A. (2004). J Nerv Ment Dis. 192: 852–856.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sandstedt AC, Carlsson VA, Hornquist JO, Thyberg M. (1992). Scand J Soc Med. 20: 173–178.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Shoeb M, Weinstein H, Mollica R. (2007). Int J Soc Psychiatry. 53: 447–463.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Silove D, Steel Z, Bauman A, Chey T, McFarlane A. (2007). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 42: 467–476.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Spencer JH, Le TN. (2006). J Immigr Minor Health. 8: 359–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Steel Z, Silove D, Bird K, McGorry P, Mohan P. (1999). J Trauma Stress. 12: 421–435.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Stepakoff S, Hubbard J, Katoh M, Falk E, Mikulu JB, Nkhoma P, Omagwa Y. (2006). Am Psychol. 61: 921–932.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sugunan AP, Roy S, Murhekar MV, Naik TN, Sehgal SC. (2007). J Public Health (Oxf). 29: 449–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sundquist J. (1995). Scand J Prim Health Care. 13: 128–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tanaka Y, Kunii O, Okumura J, Wakai S. (2004). Public Health. 118: 50–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. The WHOQOL Group. (1998). Psychol Med. 28: 551–559.Google Scholar
  75. UNHCR Statistical Yearbook. (2006). Trends in Displacement, Protection, and Polutions. The UN Refugee Agency, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), December 2007. Available at: Accessed on March 21, 2008.
  76. USCRI World Refugee Survey. (2007). Table 3: Warehoused Refugee Populations. U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants. Available at: Accessed on March 21, 2008.
  77. Vladeck BC. (2007). Health Aff (Millwood). 26: 1231–1234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Walden VM, Lamond EA, Field SA. (2005). Disasters. 29: 213–221.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. WHO. (1996). WHOQOL-BREF: Introduction, Administration, Scoring, and Generic Version of the Assessment. Geneva.Google Scholar
  80. Willis GB, Gonzalez A. (1998). J Nerv Ment Dis. 186: 283–289.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Zabaneh JE, Watt GC, O’Donnell CA. (2008). J Epidemiol Community Health. 62: 91–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations