Wellbeing & Health

The theme ‘wellbeing and health’ unites research that addresses the psychosocial, mental and physical wellbeing of various groups of migrants and refugees, in diverse contexts and different phases of the migration process.

Children’s rights in appellate asylum proceedings in Belgium: a legal ethnography

Description: This project investigates how children's rights are perceived, mobilised and practiced by the actors involved in the Belgian asylum procedure on appeal. We combine research methods from law (case law analysis) and anthropology (ethnography) to study the role of children's rights in these procedures from the point of view of children and young people, their parents or guardians, lawyers, first instance representatives and judges of the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL). We answer three questions: how do individuals experience and understand children’s rights; to what extent do they define their situation in terms of children's rights; and what standards and practices shape the internal legal culture in which the Council operates? The project contributes to the field of 'critical children's rights studies', paying particular attention to how children's rights are shaped by children themselves and by children's interaction with other groups.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet
Researcher(s): Sara Lembrechts
Department / Research group: Migration Law Research Group
Faculty: Faculty of Law and Criminology

Community expectations and support structures: An exploration of return experiences of Cameroonian returnees.

Description: In Cameroon, international migration is coupled with specific socio-cultural expectations regarding an increase of wealth and sharing of resources. However, it remains unclear how this community expectations influence the everyday experiences of Cameroonian migrants who return to their country. This project addresses three main goals, (1) by investigating the concrete community expectations towards returnees and (2° by mapping the governmental support structures that are available for returnees; (3) this research aims to reveal how community expectations and formal support structures influence the return experience. As such, the research project contributes to knowledge on how differences in post-return wellbeing emerge.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn , Ine Lietaert
Researcher(s): Presca Esseh Wanki Kang
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

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
Department / Research group: Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP) - Department Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law
Faculty: Faculty of Law and Criminology

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): Vanderplasschen Wouter, Freya Vander Laenen
Researcher(s): Aline Pouille
Department / Research group: Special Needs Education (Recovery and Addiction)
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Refugee relief during the First World War: Belgian refugees in Birmingham (1914-1919)

Description: The First World War can be identified as a total war since it affected every level of society, far beyond the front. The violence against civilians caused an unprecedented stream of refugees, which induced in its turn an explosion of humanitarian help. In this view, the Great War can be seen as a catalyst for the transition of charity towards a professional and institutionalized social work. Furthermore, the war was a decisive turning point in which the initial outlines of the current (inter)national policies regarding refugees and human rights were drawn. In Belgium 250.000 Belgians fled to England, of which 5.000 stayed in Birmingham. During the war a layered network of relief work was established to meet the needs of these refugees. Consequently, the central research question of this study is: “How did the Belgian exile during the First World War challenge and influence social work and the underlying networks and what were post-war effects on the further development of social work?”
Promoter(s): .N.N.
Researcher(s): Jolien De Vuyst
Department / Research group: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Research project Evaluation Zanzu.be

Description: This project aims at an evidence-based evaluation of the multilingual (in 14 languages) website of Sensoa, the Flemish expertise centre for sexual health. The website (zanzu.be) has been designed for newcomers, asylum seekers and people without residence permit and also serves as support tool for professionals in counselling and training. The project addresses three major goals: (1) evaluating the multilingual website zanzu.be; (2) evaluating its current implementation strategy and (3) formulating specific recommendations to improve the quality of the website and its implementation. Drawing from a combination of research methods (context analysis, digital survey, interviews, video-taped interaction and subsequent benchmark sessions), this project envisions an evidence-based answer to a number of research questions relating to communication about sexual health with vulnerable migrants.
Promoter(s): Katrijn Maryns, Ellen Van Praet, July De Wilde
Researcher(s): Pauline Van Daele
Department / Research group: Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication - MULTIPLES
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Return and Reintegration of Ethiopian Forced Returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in North Wollo, Ethiopia: Process, Challenges and Impacts

Description: The study aims at examining the return and reintegration of Ethiopian forced returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its impacts on the recipient households and communities in North Wollo, where a considerable number of returnees are living. It also explores the determinants of success of reintegration and returnees' strategies to cope the challenges and problems that they have faced in the course of the reintegration process. Survey, interviews, focus group discussions and life history methods will be employed to gather the necessary data. The survey data to be collected will be analized through descriptive statistics and multiple regressions. In doing so, the study intends to contribute to the literature on return and reintegration.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn, Lietaert Ine
Researcher(s): Tizazu Ashenafi Tirfie
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

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
Website: http://www.childmove.com
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences