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

Childmove | De impact van vluchtervaringen op het psychologische welzijn van niet-begeleide minderjarige vluchtelingenSince early 2015, the media continuously confront us with images of refugee children drowning in the Mediterranean, surviving in appalling conditions in camps or walking across Europe. Within this group of fleeing children, a considerable number is travelling without parents, unaccompanied refugee minors. While the media images testify to these flight experiences and their possible huge impact on minors’ wellbeing, there has been no systematic research to fully capture these experiences, nor their mental health impact. This project, financed by the European Research Councile, therefore aims to fundamentally increase our knowledge of the impact of experiences during the flight, in relation to past trauma and current stressors, findings which will also be highly informative for policy makers and practitioners. We will conduct a longitudinal follow-up study of a large group of unaccompanied refugee minors, whereby our study starts from different transit countries, crosses several European countries, and uses innovative methodological and mixed-methods approaches. We will hereby not only document the psychological impact of these flight experiences, but also the way in which care and reception structures for unaccompanied minors in transit and settlement countries can reduce this impact.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Malte Behrendt, Ine Lietaert, Marina Rota, Océane Uzureau