A qualitative study of resilience among asylum seekers from Darfur in Israel

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Abstract

We know more about the experiences of trauma, despair, and abuse of asylum seekers and refugees than we do of their resilience, strength, and active struggle to survive and succeed. This article explores stories narrated by asylum seekers from Darfur, Sudan, currently residing in Israel, to learn about their forms and sources of strength, resilience, and coping mechanisms. In-depth, semi-structured group interviews were conducted in Hebrew and in English with eight single men, aged between the ages 27 and 38, who had lived in Israel for between four and seven years. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the data analyzed by analytic induction and constant comparison strategies. Six factors were identified, from the interviewees’ perspective, as contributing to their resilience: cognitive coping strategies, behavioral coping strategies, the ability to work, the ability to study and educate oneself, the support of family and friends, and social and political activism. This study corroborates existing literature by identifying personal strategies and social support as important to resilience of refugees; however, and unlike other studies, we did not find religion as an important factor from our interviewees’ perspective. We have thus expanded the existing literature by identifying the ability to work and the ability to study as important factors contributing to the resilience of refugees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-841
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Asylum
  • coping
  • refugees
  • resilience

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