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Title: An exploration of how adults seeking asylum understand and cope with the asylum journey and process
Author: Hoare, Thomas Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 1471
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Asylum seekers often experience stressful and traumatic experiences throughout the asylum journey (in country of origin, in ‘flight’ and in re-settlement in the UK), shown to be linked to psychological difficulties. A systematic review of the literature demonstrates a paucity of high-quality qualitative research exploring the experiences of asylum seekers across the asylum process. Research with this population has been dominated by quantitative research examining the psychopathological sequelae resulting from exposure to traumatic events. Resilience is an emerging concept in psychotraumatology, though no studies have examined resilience and coping in asylum-seeking populations. The aim of this research was to address this gap in the research by using a qualitative methodology to understand the ways asylum seekers make sense of, and cope with their experiences across the asylum journey. Using an interpreter, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with eleven asylum seekers in South Wales accessing a third sector mental health project and / or a primary care service. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used, and a theory emerged from the data highlighting four themes spanning the asylum journey; ‘Before Asylum’, ‘Displacement’, ‘What it means to be an asylum seeker’ and ‘thinking about the future’. The stressors of involvement with the asylum system and adaptation to a new environment are core aspects of the theory, along with an exploration of how asylum seekers cope with these circumstances, via a range of internal psychological and external support sources. Prior experiences (including the development of ‘inner strength’) impacted upon how participants conceptualised their everyday experiences, and this shaped how they thought about the future. The findings have numerous clinical implications for services providing support for this population, which are discussed along with recommendations for future research. The study increases the research base around how asylum seekers understand and cope with the asylum journey.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology