Factors that Deter and Enhance Recovery from Demoralisation among Refugees and Migrants in Christchurch
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AbstractThis thesis explores the inherent challenges refugees and migrants face when immigrating to New Zealand. This exploration is undertaken alongside an examination of the concept of ‘demoralisation.’ The main focus of the study was to determine the factors that deter and enhance recovery from demoralisation.
The literature review consists of three parts: the first considers the post-migration stressors that emphasize the psychosocial challenges that all migrants and refugees face. The second part reviews the literature on mental health and wellbeing with emphasis on the diagnoses of depression. The third reviews the challenges of recovery from depression. The lack of literature on recovery from demoralisation informed the use of recovery from depression and has been applied to the concept of demoralisation. The concept of personal recovery has varied meanings that are predicated by the hermeneutics of individual experiences.
The research itself consisted of a mixed methods study involving 80 people attending a focus group. On completion of the focus groups 20 self-selected people were invited to attend a narrative interview. The aim of the narrative interviews was to determine what helped or hindered the process of recovery from demoralisation. The findings from the focus group indicated that since immigrating to New Zealand 81% of the total sample reported having been depressed at some stage of their life. It was also noted that only 18% had gained employment.
From the 20 people who attended the narrative interviews four were seriously demoralised, ten were moderately demoralised but had recovered, and six were not demoralised. The relatively low numbers are balanced by the depth and intensity of the narratives provided. In terms of employment only 4 respondents gained full time jobs out of 20. The rest relied on benefits or unemployment allowance and Accident Compensation Corporation [ACC] due to industrial accidents.
In terms of factors that hindered and enhanced recovery, it was found that psychosocial factors related to unmet post-migration expectations, unemployment, failure to recognise foreign qualifications, personal adversity, health problems, social isolation, and geographical distance from home inhibited travel from both sides of the divide. All these factors had hindered recovery. In contrast to this, gaining employment, having social and cultural associations (including religious faith) family unification, studying or attaining educational objectives, having a strong philosophical mindset and having hope enhanced recovery.
The theoretical analysis section comprise of the migration adjustment curve and the ecological model. The adjustment curve was assessed and found to be too unilineal and spurious because it contrasted the results chapters. This led to the analysis of the trauma stress model. The ecological model was presented as a navigational guide for refugees and migrants to manoeuvre their way in a tough social environment.
Overall, this study has shown that migration to a new country is fraught with difficulties, all of which can lead to demoralisation. Although the outcomes cannot be generalised, Governments that receive refugees under humanitarian programmes need to be more aware of the potential difficulties people experience in resettlement, particularly when coming from countries of a very different culture. Such Governments must also be aware of the global economic recession which is responsible for socioeconomic difficulties of the respective populations and its impact on refugees and migrants.
TypeThesis or Dissertation
Osam, E. (2012). Factors that Deter and Enhance Recovery from Demoralisation among Refugees and Migrants in Christchurch (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/2422