The Psychosocial Condition of Syrian Children Facing a Precarious Future
Keywords:psychosocial conditions, social and political conditions, displaced people, public schools, Lebanon
This study investigates the psychosocial conditions of Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese children in Lebanese public schools. A survey was conducted with Syrian and Lebanese children and their parents. Interviews with public school staff were also carried out. The study found that poverty and war play equal roles in affecting children’s emotional well-being as Syrian and Lebanese children manifest similar levels of anxiety and hyperactivity. While the past presents significant stressors, present and future stressors were also identified amongst refugees. This article critiques the prime emphasis of psychosocial intervention paradigms on past trauma, which risks overlooking present and future stressors. It argues that the psychosocial conditions of refugees are interpreted in isolation from refugees’ poverty, subordinated social status, and the local injustices to which they are subject.
Abou-Saleh, M., & Mobayad, M. (2013). Mental health in Syria. International Psychiatry, 10(3), 58–60.
Alfadhli, K., & Drury, J. (2016). Psychosocial support among refugees of conflict in developing countries: A critical literature review. Intervention, 14(2), 128–141. https://www.interventionjournal.com/sites/default/files/Psychosocial_support_among_refugees_of_conflict_in.6.pdf
Atlas, M. (2009). Experiencing displacement: Using art therapy to address xenophobia in South Africa. Development, 52(4), 531–536.
Banerjee, R., McLaughlin, C., Jess, C., Roberts, L., & Peereboom, C. (2016). Promoting emotional health, well-being and resilience in primary schools. The Public Policy Institute for Wales.
Berthold, S. M. (2000). War traumas and community violence: Psychological, behavioural, and academic outcomes among Khmer refugee adolescents. Journal of Multicultural Social Work, 8(1–2), 15–46. https://doi.org/10.1300/J285v08n01_02
Betancourt, T. S., Borisova, I., Williams, T. P., Meyers-Ohki, S., Rubin-Smith, J., Annan, J., et al. (2013). Research review: Psychosocial adjustment and mental health in former child soldiers—A systematic review of the literature and recommendations for future research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(1), 17–36.
Bush, K., & Saltarelli, D. (2000). The two faces of education in ethnic conflict: towards a peace building education for children. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.
Fazel, M. (2018). Psychological and psychosocial interventions for refugee children resettled in high-income countries. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 27, 117–123. https://doi.org/10.1017/s2045796017000695
Goodman, R., Meltzer, H., & Bailey, V. (1998). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: A pilot study on the validity of the self-report version. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7, 125–130. https://doi.org/10.1007/s007870050057
Government of Lebanon and UNHCR. (2019). Lebanese crisis: Response plan, 2017–2020 (2019 update). https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/67780.pdf
Gupte, J., & Mehta, L. (2009). Disjunctures in labelling refugees and oustees. In R. E. Joy Moncrieffe (Ed.), The power of labelling: How people are categorized and why it matters (pp. 64–79). Earthscan.
Hassan, G., Ventevogel, P., Jefee-Bahloul, H., Barkil-Oteo, A., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2016). Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Syrians affected by armed conflict. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 25, 129–141. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796016000044
Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44(3), 513–524. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.44.3.513
Huyck, E. E., & Fields, R. (1981). Impact of resettlement on refugee children. The International Migration Review, 15(1–2), 246–254. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0197918381015001-225
Institute of Medicine. (2015). Psychosocial interventions for mental and substance use disorders: A framework for establishing evidence-based standards. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/19013
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). (2007). IASC guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings. IASC.
Khamis, V. (2012). Posttraumatic stress and worry as mediators and moderators between political stressors and emotional and behavioral disorders in Palestinian children. International Journal of Psychology, 47(2), 133–141. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2011.598524
Khamis, V. (2015). War, religiosity, ideology and PTSD in the Middle East. In V. R. Preedy (Ed.), Comprehensive guide to post-traumatic stress disorder. Springer International Publishing.
McLoyd, V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53(2), 185– 204. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.53.2.185
Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE). (2014). Reaching all children with education: RACE I.
MEHE. (2016). Reaching all children with education: RACE II (2017–2021).
MEHE. (2019). RACE II Fact Sheet: March 2019. http://racep-mulebanon.com/images/fact-sheet-march-2019.pdf
MEHE. (2020). Reaching all children with education: Lebanon (RACE II). http://racepmulebanon.com/index.php/featuresmainmenu-47/race2-article).
Norwegian Refugee Council. (2013). The consequences of limited legal status for Syrian refugees in Lebanon: NRC
Lebanon Field Assessment Aarsal and Wadi Khaled. Nosè, M., Ballette, F., Bighelli, I., Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Tol, W., Priebe, S., & Barbui, C. (2017). Psychosocial interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in refugees and asylum seekers resettled in high-income countries: Systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 12, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171030
Panter-Brick, C., Eggerman, M., Mojadidi, A., & McDade, T. W. (2008). Social stressors, mental health, and physiological stress in an urban elite of young Afghans in Kabul. American Journal of Human Biology, 20(6): 627–641. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20797
Patel, V. (2014). Rethinking mental health care: Bridging the credibility gap. Intervention 12(Supplement 1): 15–20. https://www.interventionjournal.com/sites/default/files/Patel%202014%20I%20bridging%20credibility%20gap.pdf
Pérez-Sales, P. (2013). Assessment of trauma experience, mental health and individual and community coping resources of refugee Syrian population displaced in north Bekaa (Lebanon).
Médecins du Monde—France / Médicos del Mundo—España.
Perez-Sales, P., Médecins du Monde. (2013, January 28). Assessment of trauma experiences, mental health and individual and community coping resources of refugee Syrian population displaced in north Bekaa, Lebanon.
Shuayb, M. (2016). The role of research centres in shaping education reform in Lebanon. Al Moustakbal, N443: 84–102.
Shuayb, M., Makkouk, N., & Tuttunji, S. (2014). Widening access to quality education for Syrian refugees: The role of private and NGO sectors in Lebanon. http://lebanesestudies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Widening-Access-to-Quality-Education-for-Syrian-Refugees-the-role-private-and-NGO-sectors-in-Lebanon.pdf
Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Acarturk, C., Anttila, M., Au, T., Ballette, F., & Barbui, C. (2019). Efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions in asylum seekers and refugees: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 28(4), 376–388. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796019000027
United Nations. (2016). Regional refugee & resilience plan (3RP) 2015–2016: Regional strategic overview.
United Nations and Government of Lebanon. (2015). Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2015–2016.
United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). (2015). UNHCR report 2015: Lebanon crisis response plan 2015–2016. https://www.unocha.org/sites/dms/CAP/2015-2016_Lebanon_CRP_EN.pdf
UNHCR. (2013). Syria crisis: Education interrupted. http://www.refworld.org/docid/52aebbc04.html
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Maha Shuayb, Nader Ahmad
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Refuge authors retain the copyright over their work, and license it to the general public under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License International (CC BY-NC 4.0). This license allows for non-commercial use, reproduction and adaption of the material in any medium or format, with proper attribution. For general information on Creative Commons licences, visit the Creative Commons site. For the CC BY-NC 4.0 license, review the human readable summary.