University of Twente Student Theses


Hopeful future perspectives of Syrian refugees in the Netherlands: a qualitative study

Ditzel, T. (2019) Hopeful future perspectives of Syrian refugees in the Netherlands: a qualitative study.

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Abstract:Refugees are more at risk for psychological problems. Around 41% of the Syrian refugees suffer from psychological problems, whereas among the Dutch population this rate is 15%. There are a lot of risk factors known, but there are not that many known protective factors for this particular group. A known protective factor for mental well-being in general is future perspectives, which has also been associated with resilience through traumatic events. Therefore, this study is exploring the following question: How do Syrian refugees in the Netherlands use hopeful future perspectives? In total, 4 Syrian refugees above the age of 18 have volunteered to participate in this study. They were approached by either their contact person or the team leader from Vluchtelingenwerk. The participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview method. The topic list consisted of events in the past in which they remained hopeful, role models and how they have coped and how they currently look at the future. The analysis of the interview was based on the holistic content analysis, with a general impression, including the impression about resilience and optimism and pessimism, and the themes that consisted of four components of hopefulness from Nunn, namely (1) mastery of the future, (2) purpose in life, (3) future support and leadership, (4) view of future self and trajectory. The results suggest that having a purpose in life is most important in remaining hopeful, since all participants mentioned this. However, mothers seemed to be more concerned with the future of their children than their own. Additionally, it was discovered that people who are in the mourning process are not occupied with their future. The second component, “view of future self and trajectory” showed that the participants believed language proficiency was the first step to achieve their goals, but there was uncertainty about the following steps. Within the component of “mastery of the future”, it seemed most important to cope with adversity and to take responsibility. For the last component, “future support and leadership” only the female participants mentioned that they remained hopeful due to their faith in a God. Lastly, it was hard to recognize the different types of resilience and it appeared that they differed per situation. A limitation of this study is that there was a limited time span and only one researcher, which could have influenced the results, for instance due to the small number of participants. The possible implications of this study is that refugees are able to have hopeful future perspectives. Moreover, the components of Nunn seem applicable to this, with adding temporarily support and negative role models in the component “future support and leadership”. So it appears that this study might be the first step in discovering a suitable protective factor for the psychological problems of refugees.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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