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Refugee parents' experiences of their children's mental health - an interview study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Public Health.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: The prevalence of mental health problems are high amongst refugee children. Childhood mental health problems have long term negative consequences and costs both for the individual child and society. Aim: To explore refugee parents’ experiences of their children’s mental health. Methodology: A qualitative explorative design was used. The study population consisted of refugee parents who had lived in Sweden less than five years and with at least one child in the ages of 8-14 years. Ten individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted January-April 2019 with participants recruited through sites such as language schools. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data. Results: Parents described aggression and frequent conflicts, or refusal to play or eat, in their children related to living conditions at refugee camps and social isolation. This improved when children started school and possibilities of social relations increased. However, sadness and low self-esteem due to bullying or perceived discrimination remained an important issue. Parents own mental health and lack of language skills could also have a negative impact on the children. Previous traumatic experiences caused children sleeping difficulties, fear of strangers and fear of separation from parents. Although these difficulties had improved, memories could still resurface. To focus on the present and have hope of the future was helpful to the children. Encouragement and social support from parents, teachers and friends promoted children’s well-being. Conclusion: Previous traumatic experiences and new sufferings such as social isolation caused children emotional and behavioural difficulties. The results highlights several possibilities in the children’s ecological systems for prevention of mental health problems and promotion of well-being and resilience. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 40
Keywords [en]
refugees, child, psychology, mental health, qualitative research
Keywords [sv]
Flyktingar, barn, psykologi, psykisk hälsa, kvalitativ forskning
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388893OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-388893DiVA, id: diva2:1335785
Subject / course
Public Health
Educational program
Master Programme in Public Health
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-08 Created: 2019-07-07 Last updated: 2019-07-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf