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Syrian Refugees in Canada: A Qualitative Report of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Psychosocial Adaptation

  • Author / Creator
    Devereux, Chloe
  • Due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, approximately 50,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada between 2015 and 2020. Upon arrival, Syrians needed to find housing, employment, healthcare, and language training. They also had to address psychosocial needs, such as cultivating social supports and establishing a sense of safety, which are critical for mitigating trauma and stress related to resettlement. In March 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and disproportionately impacted refugees by compounding pre-existing and systemic health, social, and economic inequities. Refugees are identified as particularly vulnerable during the pandemic due to the precarious working, living, economic, and health conditions they often face. Only three Canadian studies to date have explored Syrian refugee experiences during COVID-19: one used quantitative methods, the other focused on postnatal women, and one explored housing stability. Therefore, there is a dearth of qualitative information regarding how Syrian refugees in Canada have been impacted by the pandemic, especially regarding their psychosocial adaptation during this period. This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for Syrian refugees in Canada and identified supports needed, from the perspectives of Syrian refugees themselves. This study is embedded within a broader community-based participatory research project investigating psychosocial adaptation with the Syrian refugee community and used qualitative description and thematic analysis to examine semi-structured interviews conducted with 10 Syrian refugees. Through this thesis study, I found four themes: Facing Ongoing Development, Inequity, and Insecurity During Integration; Disruption of Settlement, Integration, and Adaptation due to the Pandemic; Ongoing Adaptation and Resilience During Integration in Canada; and Ongoing Needs and Solutions for Integration and Adaptation. Implications for policy, practice and future research are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-451g-r913
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.