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Asylexistensens villkor: Resurser och problem i meningsskapande hos asylsökande barn i Sverige
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Psychology of Religions.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Conditions of Asylum-seeking Existence : Resources and Problems in Meaning Making for Children Seeking Asylum in Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

About 40% of the world’s refugees are children. Therefore it is important to learn more about their complex situation. There is a lack of knowledge concerning asylum-seeking children’s ways of making meaning.

This study focuses on the resources and problems 20 asylum-seeking children in Sweden, (10 boys and 10 girls, aged 7-14, speaking Arabic, Bosnian or Russian), have had in their meaning making. Meaning making is here defined as: A way to interpret and handle the situation a person encounters. It also includes existential questions. The person’s life history, coping (behaviours, emotions, and/or cognitive strategies) and relations/religion are elements in meaning making. Special attention is focused on identifying resources, as the problems are better known.

The research design was based on a mixed method approach, including both qualitative and quantitative methods. Data were collected from medical records of, interviews and questionnaires with, and drawings by the children. For an adequate analysis of the multi-factorial data a theoretical framework was constructed which included theoretical constructs from Erik H Erikson, Paul W Pruyser, James W Fowler, Ana-Maria Rizzuto, Jan van der Lans and Annemarie J M Smith.

The school environment, with its teachers, schoolmates and physical grounds, has emerged as the most essential resource for the children. The school offers a place where creativity and play are allowed, i.e. a functioning illusionistic world, according to Pruyser’s theory. Other resources include the opportunity to live a life as ordinary as possible, and, to a lesser extent, the children’s faith system. By using Rizzuto’s theory of god-representation via the child’s relation to the mother, two different God-images emerged. A major problem for the children has been the agonizing waiting for the decision of whether or not they will be allowed to stay in Sweden, and their mental health deteriorated during the waiting time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Religionspsykologi , 2006. , 228 p.
Keyword [en]
Psychology of religion, Asylum-seeking children, Meaning making, Illusionistic world, God-representation, Religion, Resources, Coping, Resilience
Keyword [sv]
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7080ISBN: 91-506-1890-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7080DiVA: diva2:168632
Public defence
2006-09-29, Hörsal 1, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2006-09-04 Created: 2006-09-04Bibliographically approved

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