The pains and gains of reception centres: How length of stay in reception centres is associated with Syrian refugees' mental health during early resettlement

Meta van der Linden*, Luuk Weeda, Jaco Dagevos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In European countries, refugees await the approval of their asylum claim in reception centres. Scholars have repeatedly expressed concern about the consequences of a long reception period for refugees' mental health but the mechanisms that drive this negative relationship remain not fully understood. Using survey data from 481 Syrian refugees in the Netherlands, we show that the length of stay in reception centres was associated with an increasing number of forced relocations between reception centres, which weakened refugees' mental health during their resettlement up to 2 years later. In an attempt to improve refugees' mental health, reception centres now offer day-time activities. However, while we find that length of stay in reception centres was associated with more frequent participation in day-time activities, it did not substantially improve refugees' mental health. We call for policy makers to reduce the detrimental effects of a frequent forced relocations between reception centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Migration
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding information:
Stichting De Verre Bergen


Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 International Organization for Migration.

Research programs

  • ESSB PA

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