Cultural brokering with Syrian refugee families with young children: an exploration of challenges and best practices in psychosocial adaptation

Yohani, S, Kirova, A, Georgis, R, Gokiert, R, Mejia, T and Chiu, M (2019) 'Cultural brokering with Syrian refugee families with young children: an exploration of challenges and best practices in psychosocial adaptation.' Journal of International Migration and Integration. ISSN 1488-3473

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00651-6

Abstract

This study examined the challenges and critical psychosocial needs of Syrian refugee families with young children in Western Canada, and the role of cultural brokering in facilitating their psychosocial adaptation. Using a community-based participatory research approach and critical incident method, the study involved nine Arabic-speaking cultural brokers who were working with Syrian refugee families using holistic supports during early resettlement. Data collected through focus groups and semi-structured interviews are presented in five illustrative case studies, and reveal that Syrian families struggled with feeling safe and secure in Canada, adjusting to the changing roles in the family, and trying to find meaning in their lives. These struggles were attributed to families’ overall challenges navigating various domains of integration (i.e., health, social services, and education), resulting in a heavy reliance on cultural brokers for social linking and bonding activities (Ager & Strang, 2008), including connecting families to needed supports and helping family members build relationships with one another. Challenges faced by families mapped onto the five psychosocial needs of Silove’s (2013) Adaptation after Persecution and Trauma (ADAPT) conceptual framework as well as most of the core domains of Ager and Strang’s (2008) Social Integration framework. This study provides evidence for the use of both of these frameworks in further studies involving Syrian refugee populations; they proved useful for understanding how families can develop necessary skills to engage on their own in linking activities with various Canadian institutions and bridging activities with communities at large.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: psychosocial adaptation, refugees, refugee families, refugee children, cultural brokers, psychological trauma, social integration, refugee health, community-based participatory research, critical incidents
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 10:55
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 12:45
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