Forced migration and psychosocial health: meaning-making through autobiographical narratives in the UK
Keywords:refugees, psychosocial health, negative stereotypes, autobiographical narratives
This paper explores how refugees in the UK perceive the relation between their experience of migration and their psychosocial health. Autobiographical narrative interviews were carried out with fifteen refugees residing in the UK. The findings reveal a contrast between the negative stereotypes concerning refugees’ psychosocial health and the participants’ own perceptions. Two of the three emerging narratives suggest a more balanced view of refugees’ psychosocial health, since- in contrast to the stereotypes- most participants did not perceive this through the lens of ‘vulnerability’. The third narrative revealed that a hostile social context can negatively shape refugees’ perceptions of their psychosocial health. This runs counter to the stereotype of refugees as being exclusively responsible for their ‘passiveness’ and therefore for the problems they face.
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