Health, health care and psychosocial well-being

Access to health care; sexual health; doctor-patient interactions; mental well-being; PTSD; post-migration stress factors; resilience

A psychoanalytical reading of religious radicalization in the context of Islam

Description: Radicalization is often viewed as an identity story. By the use of a qualitative study I plan to interview professionals and participants who returned from Syria. The aim of the study is to grasp a better understanding on radicalization and deradicalization/disengagement, and what jihad means for the participants of the study. This research is conducted from a psychoanalytical point of view in which the relationship between identity and religiion will be clarified.
Promoter(s): Reitkse Meganck
Researcher(s): Amar El-Omari
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Period of time: 2021 - 2027

Bloody diversity. The transformative capacity of blood donation among ethnic minorities in redefining citizenship and solidarity in ethnically diverse societies

Description: In Europe, blood for transfusion is collected from voluntary, non-remunerated donors. In public discourse, blood donation is framed as an exemplary act of citizenship and solidarity. Despite sufficient blood supply, however, only a small percentage of the population donates, and in particular, ethnic minorities are underrepresented. Existing research has mainly focused on identifying cultural and structural barriers experienced by minorities. This project argues that such a donor-centered approach prevents us from questioning in a more fundamental way how the non-participation of ethnic minorities challenges the basic architecture of the blood procurement system as a Western beacon of citizenship and solidarity. We therefore conduct a country-comparison between Belgium and the UK, representing two different blood collection systems, to explore how ethnic minorities challenge the organization of blood collection.
Promoter(s): Lesley Hustinx , Pierre Monforte
Researcher(s): Toyah Van der Poten
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2022 - 2026

Considering ethnicity in forensic mental health care: experiences of migrant and ethnic minority service users and their service providers

Description: Persons from migrant and ethnic minority groups are relatively overrepresented in forensic mental health care, however, it remains unclear how they recover and desist from crime. The Good Lives Model, as a leading strengths-based rehabilitation framework, is regarded as a promising avenue. One could wonder though how forensic service users who identify themselves as MEM prioritize and conceptualize the Good Lives conceptions. In this study, we place MEM forensic service users’ perspectives on their rehabilitation needs and how these needs can be fulfilled (i.e. Good Lives conceptions) center stage. Additionally, we study forensic service providers’ needs towards MEM rehabilitation in forensic mental health services while identifying currently implemented promising practices. Next, these results will be validated by international experts in culturally sensitive mental health care and/or forensic mental health care, in order to formulate policy recommendations.
Promoter(s): Freya Vander Laenen, Stijn Van de Velde
Researcher(s): Marjolein De Pau
Faculty: Faculty of Law and Criminology
Period: 2021 - 2025

Considering ethnicity in forensic mental health care: Experiences of service users from migrant- and ethnic minority groups and their care takers

Description: The needs of people from migrant and ethnic minority groups (MEM) in a forensic psychiatric context have, despite their overrepresentation, long been overlooked. Contrary to a large body of evidence in regular mental health care, it remains unclear how MEM forensic service users recover and desist from crime, or how they hope to lead Good Lives (see also Good Lives Model). In this study, we research MEM forensic service users’ perspectives on their needs and how these needs can be fulfilled. Additionally, forensic service providers contribute to the discovery of promising practices, while indicating their professional needs concerning the treatment of MEM forensic service users. In a last phase, these results will be internationally validated by experts in treating MEM service users in a forensic psychiatric context.
Promoter(s): Freya Vander Laenen , Stijn Vandevelde
Researcher(s): Marjolein De Pau
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Law and Criminology
Period of time: 2021 - 2025

Culturally sensitive mental healthcare: cultural conversations in psychotherapy with ethnic minority clients

Description: The existing body of research on psychotherapy has emphasized the crucial role of culturally sensitive care from both therapist and client perspectives. Despite its importance, there remains a paucity of evidence on the implementation of culturally responsive practices that prevent premature dropout and enhance therapy success. In the current research we aim to contribute to the literature by studying meaningful cultural conversations– i.e. broaching - in psychotherapy with ethnic minority clients.
Promoter(s): Alain Van Hiel , Bart Van de Putte , Piet Bracke
Researcher(s): Hilde Depauw
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences , Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2020 - 2025

Disparities in use of preventive health services across migrant backgrounds in Belgium

Description: Previous research has documented disparities in access to healthcare services between individuals from migrant backgrounds and those belonging to the native host population. In the case of preventive healthcare services such as cancer screenings, these disparities may lead to the late-stage detection of cancers in people from migration backgrounds, increasing their risk of adverse health outcomes. Using administrative data, this project seeks to document the migrant differences in use of preventive healthcare services, and to examine the heterogeneity in these differences within and between migrant groups (e.g. generational status, length of stay and country of origin). It will further study the different mechanisms which could explain these differences, such as socioeconomic position, neighbourhood composition (e.g. ethnic density and socioeconomic deprivation), a well as explore other mechanisms relevant to ethnicity (e.g. language, health literacy, taboos).
Promoter(s): Sorana Toma , Sara Willems , Katrien Vanthomme
Researcher(s): Sarah Derveeuw
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Period of time: 2022 - 2026

Does school social capital protect against loneliness in newly arrived minors? A mixed-method study in Flemish secondary schools providing reception programmes

Description: As the number of newly arrived minors (NAMs) has rapidly grown in Europe over the past decades, researchers have started to address the health consequences of migration for children. Theoretical insights suggest that NAMs are at a double jeopardy of loneliness, because of their age and migration status. Moreover, loneliness among NAMs is of major concern, as it could exacerbate existing ethnic inequalities in mental health, physical health and school outcomes. The aim of the project is threefold. First, we will estimate prevalence rates of loneliness in NAMs and identify migration-related characteristics associated with loneliness. Second, we will investigate whether school social capital protects against experiences of loneliness. Third, we will explore the mechanisms behind the association between school social capital and loneliness. To achieve these objectives, we will carry out a mixed-method study in secondary schools providing reception programs.
Promoter(s): Benedicte Deforche , Piet Bracke
Researcher(s): Sarah Devos , Katrijn Delaruelle
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2021 - 2025

Gender-(in)sensitivity in credibility assessments of applications based on sexual or gender-based violence in the European asylum procedure

Description: Lore’s doctoral research echoes the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR, 2013) concern that asylum authorities might base credibility assessments on stereotypical and erroneous perceptions of gender. Her research aims to analyse the gender-(in)sensitivities in credibility assessments of asylum applications based on sexual or gender-based violence (SGBV) in the European asylum procedure (going beyond only ‘rape’ as a type of SGBV). Her research will collect data from 3 complementary resources: existing literature, asylum authorities (through case law analysis and KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices) surveys) and asylum seekers themselves (through qualitative interviews). This triangulation of input will expand the understanding of the asylum procedure and its gendered legal challenges and will contribute to the further theorization of asylum-specific gender studies.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet , Ines Keygnaert
Researcher(s): Lore Roels
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Law and Criminology , Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Period of time: 2021 - 2025

Inclusive, holistic care for migrant victims of sexual violence (INHeRE)

Description: Migrants, Applicants for international protection and Refugees are at high risk of sexual violence prior to, during and after their arrival in Europe. Up to 58% and 32% of female and male refugees respectively, have experienced sexual victimization. Although an integrated and holistic approach (encompassing forensic, medical and psychosocial care) from detection to follow-up has been recognized as the best care for all SV victims, access to holistic care for migrant victims is hampered by a broad range of barriers. Frontline professionals working with migrants often lack the specialist knowledge, language skills and tools to provide inclusive and holistic care for victims, or do not know where to refer them. The general aim of the INHeRE project was to improve inclusive, holistic care for migrant victims of sexual violence, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation and/or legal status by strengthening the capacity of multi-sector frontline professionals.
Website research project:
Promoter(s): Ines Keygnaert , Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s): Leni Linthout , Ines Keygnaert , An Verelst , Nikolett Szelei
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Period of time: 2019 - 2021

Language barriers and multilingualism in sexual and reproductive healthcare: A linguistic ethnography of an abortion clinic

Description: This PhD project comprises a linguistic ethnographic study of an abortion clinic in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. The aim is to obtain insights into the various ways multilingualism and language barriers come into play in this particular setting. In doing so, it looks at the use of (non-professional) interpreters and their performances during abortion consultations, and the use of other strategies (e.g. Google Translate, multilingual websites, linguae francae), while also taking into account institutional language policies, discourses, translation practices, and viewpoints on linguistic diversity. The project seeks to gain understanding of the discursive and interactional nature of multilingual abortion consultations, as well as to examine the various ways in which language in the clinic is connected with access to information and services.
Promoter(s): July De Wilde
Researcher(s): Ella van Hest
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Period of time: 2019 - 2023

RECMIB - Substance use recovery of persons with a migration background: an analysis of lived experiences

Description: Research shows that persons with a migration background and ethnic minorities (MEM) are confronted with various risk factors that increase their vulnerability for problematic substance use and may hamper recovery. Despite the indications that recovery has a cultural dimension and that (substance use) treatment does not always seem to succeed in meeting the needs of MEM, there is hardly any research on personal recovery experiences and needs of MEM. This study therefor explores the recovery experiences of a diversity of MEM, to gain insight into their recovery resources, needs and barriers to recovery on a personal, social and community level. Based on the study findings, recommendations for policy and practice will be formulated, in association with Charlotte De Kock, in order to facilitate the development of recovery-oriented systems of care for MEM.
Promoter(s): Wouter Vanderplasschen , Freya Vander Laenen
Researcher(s): Aline Pouille
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences , Faculty of Law and Criminology
Period of time: 2018 - 2022

Speech (resonance and articulation) in children in resource poor countries/speech language therapy in resource poor countries/multilingualisme in specific populations in Belgium

Description: Providing a specific cross linguistic diagnostic and treatment protocol for children with cleft palate/providing a diagnostic and treatment protocol for the narrative skills of multilingual children
Promoter(s): Kristiane Van Lierde , Evelien d'Haeseleer
Researcher(s): Julie Daelman , Cassandra Alighieri , Kim Bettens , Jolien Verbeke
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Period of time: 2020 - 2025

STAMINA: mental health stigma among Flemish adolescents with and without migration background and the role of the school context

Description: The STAMINA project (2022-2026) aims to gain a better understanding of mental health stigma among ethnic minority and majority adolescents in Flanders and examines how the school plays a role in this, more specific, social relationships with peers and teachers, the school culture, the school structure and the mental health school policy. It is funded by FWO and carried out under the supervision of Dr. Fanny D’hondt from the research group CuDOS (Department of Sociology), and Dr. Melissa Ceuterick and Prof. Piet Bracke from the resaerch group Hedera (Department of Sociology).
Website research project:
Promoter(s): Piet Bracke , Fanny D'hondt , Melissa Ceuterick
Researcher(s): Lies Saelens
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2022 - 2026

The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minors - CHILDMOVE

Description: This ERC project is a research project on the impact of transit and travel experiences on the psychological well-being of unaccompanied refugee minors. With this research project, we want to document the impact of the experiences these young people have during the time they are still travelling from home country to host country. We will conduct a longitudinal follow-up study of a large group of unaccompanied refugee minors, whereby our study starts from different countries (Libya, Belgium, Italy and Greece), crosses several European countries, and uses innovative methodological and mixed-methods approaches. This will increase our knowledge about the long-term impact of these experiences on these adolescents’ health, but also about the way in which care and reception structures for unaccompanied minors in transit and settlement countries can reduce this impact.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s): Malte Behrendt, Ine Lietaert, Marina Rota, Océane Uzureau, Sarah Adeyinka
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Period of time: 2017 - 2022

Violence and the impact on well-being, health and identity in male migrants in transit zones in Belgium and France, on their way to the United Kingdom

Description: After entering the European mainland, an increasing amount of refugees continues their journey to the United Kingdom by crossing the English Channel. In the media, these men and boys are often displayed as being dangerous, undesirable and a threat to society. As a result of such gender stereotypes, they are perceived as less vulnerable when compared to women and children. Yet, each individual affected by forced displacement is inevitably exposed to adversities at different levels. Therefore, our research project (2021-2025) aims to gain deeper understanding about the impact of adversities, including violence, during transit on the health, wellbeing and gender identity of this mobile population in Belgium and France. Ultimately, the findings of the study will generate policy recommendations and response strategies for practice.
Promoter(s): Ines Keygnaert , Ilse Derluyn , Massil Benbouriche , Caroline Desombre
Researcher(s): Leni Linthout
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Period of time: 2021 - 2025