Topic: Forced migration and refugee health

Unaccompanied refugee minors and resettlement: Turning points towards integration

Andersson, E. S., Skar, A. M. S., & Jensen, T. K. (2021). Unaccompanied refugee minors and resettlement: Turning points towards integration. European Journal of Social Psychology, 1-30. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2761

Resettling into a new country may pose many challenges for unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs). In this study we seek to get a better understanding of these challenges through analysing interviews with 48 URMs five years after their arrival in Norway, using the concept of turning points as an analytic frame.

Gaining a sense of security, feeling affiliated, being loved and cared for, and becoming independent were identified as important turning points. Despite high levels of agency, many of the youths struggled to fulfil these basic needs, possibly due to limited relational and cultural resources. These struggles seemed to interfere with their capacity to participate in important developmental activities, affecting their well‐being and making integration difficult. This study’s results accentuate the need for better systems and assistance from people in their support system to help URMs towards feeling secure, affiliated, loved, and independent as this may facilitate resettlement and integration.