‘After god, we give strength to each other’: young people’s experiences of coping in the context of unaccompanied forced migration

Jacqui Scott, Barbara Mason, Aisling Kelly

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Abstract

Young people arriving alone in the UK due to forced migration face significant hardships including, but not limited to, their history of experiences, current and future uncertainties, and cultural differences. This paper took a critical perspective of current dominant theories of refugee youth through in-depth exploration of lived experiences of coping. Following the authors’ involvement in a community youth project and consultation, five young people took part in individual interviews. The participants were living in semi-independent accommodation in or near London, and were all male, while four identified as Muslim and one as Christian.

Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a culturally relative understanding of coping was developed. These young people were found to be taking active roles in managing their lives in the context of extensive loss, and gaining independence through connection to others. Religious practices were important, with young people making sense of their experiences through worldviews shaped by religious beliefs. While religion was described predominantly in a positive and beneficial light, an area for further investigation is the experience of religious struggle, and how this may impact experiences and coping. Implications for support for young people both from services and in communities are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Early online date9 Sept 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sept 2022

Keywords

  • Forced migration
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • refugee
  • religious coping
  • resilience
  • unaccompanied minors

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