Conducting research on mental health with refugees

Cooling, Laura, and Li, Wendy (2013) Conducting research on mental health with refugees. In: Presentations of the Unity and Diversity Conference. From: The Unity in Diversity Conference, 16-17 August 2013, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

This paper outlines the authors' experiences conducting research with refugee populations. Specifically the paper relates to Cooling's work with 60 refugees resettled in the Townsville community. This research addressed both positive (posttraumatic growth, resilience and acculturation) and negative (trauma exposure, PTSD, depression, anxiety and loss) mental health changes that occur as a result of the refugee experience. While the research that was conducted employed a positive psychology framework much of it was very sensitive in nature as it related to trauma and mental illness. Such mental health research with refugees entails numerous methodological issues that are rarely acknowledged in the conventional psychological literature. These include: problems with translating psychological scales and concepts across languages and cultures; potentially further traumatising already traumatised people; issues with confidentiality (especially when translators are required); issues with informed consent; issues with social desirability; and cultural differences in what is deemed appropriate to discuss. This paper will give a brief outline of the mental health of the sample studied before further discussing the aforementioned issues. While the limitations of Western-based scales and a quantitative approach are discussed, the importance of such research methods for understanding our diverse community is also outlined.

Item ID: 28923
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: refugees, cross-cultural research, mental health
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2013 02:28
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 30%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 70%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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