Young refugees in Australia appear to be settling in well

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The majority of young refugees resettled in Australia in recent years are adjusting well to their new lives, Australian research shows. The current study is the first to explore how many young refugees are well adjusted in Australia and how many are not. The researchers looked at 694 children aged 5-17 years, who had largely spent less than 12 months in Australia, and their caregivers. The results show that 76-94 per cent of young refugees were well adjusted; levels that were the same or higher than those generally seen in the community. They also had high levels of physical health and activity and engagement in extracurricular activities such as dance and sports.

Journal/conference: BMC Medicine

Organisation/s: The University of Melbourne

Funder: This work was supported by the NHMRC programme grant

Media Release

From: Springer Nature

Young refugees in Australia appear to be settling in well

The majority of young refugees resettled in Australia in recent years are adjusting well to their new lives, a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine suggests.

High-income countries such as Australia play important roles in the long-term resettlement of refugees; however there is a lack of research into the psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents within resettled families in these countries. The current study is the first to explore how many young refugees are well adjusted in Australia and how many are not.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne analyzed data on 694 children aged 5-17 years and 426 primary caregivers, from the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) survey conducted between October 2015 and February 2016. The majority of the children had spent less than 12 months in Australia before answering the survey questionnaire.

The BNLA results suggest that refugee children have high levels of physical health and engagement in extracurricular activities (e.g., dance, sports), but low levels of school absenteeism. They also have high ratings of school achievement with many receiving school-based awards. Among 14 to 17 year old refugee boys in particular, a group often identified as at risk for behavioral and social difficulties, children from refugee families experienced significantly fewer difficulties than their Australian male counterparts.

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