The long-term financial and psychological resettlement outcomes of pre-migration trauma and post-settlement difficulties in resettled refugees

Alexander W. O'Donnell, Jaimee Stuart, Karlee J. O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rationale: Humanitarian crises and ongoing conflicts around the world have created large populations of refugees who require permanent resettlement. The often-difficult pathway to resettlement for refugees places them at elevated risks for ongoing psychological and financial problems, creating an imperative to investigate the longterm outcomes for refugees as they resettle. Objective: The current study explores how adversities before and after resettlement impact the psychological distress and experiences of financial hardship over the course of four years postsettlement for a large group of resettled refugees in Australia. Method: Data from the first four waves of the Building New Life in Australia (BNLA) study (N = 1509) were used. Recently resettled refugees completed measures of pre-migration trauma and post-settlement difficulties at the initial data collection wave as well as measures of psychological distress and financial hardship across all four waves. Results: Through a random intercept cross-lagged panel model, a time-sensitive bi-directional relationship between psychological distress and financial hardship was found. Additionally, early post-settlement difficulties were indirectly related to both psychological distress and financial hardship over time. In contrast, pre-migration trauma did not significantly predict later outcomes. Conclusions: These results illustrate that trauma focused interventions may be insufficient on their own for assisting resettled refugees in this context. As such, our findings highlight the crucial importance of early identification and responsiveness to the variety of initial difficulties, such as language and housing problems, that may be experienced by resettled refugees to mitigate against subsequent psychological and financial difficulties in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113246
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptation difficulties
  • Asylum seekers
  • Financial hardship
  • Humanitarian migrants
  • Mental health
  • Psychological distress
  • Refugees
  • Trauma

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