Individuals from war-torn countries seek refuge in Australia. Their life satisfaction, which depends on a range of personal and contextual factors, is not fully understood. The present study used a mixed method approach to explore the life satisfaction of former refugees in Australia. In the first phase, former refugees (N=197) from Ethiopia, Congo and Burma completed a battery of questionnaires with the help of interpreters. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to investigate the effect of demographic factors on life satisfaction. Life satisfaction of the participants differed on the basis of country of origin, employment status, and English proficiency. Multiple regression analysis indicated that although age, length of stay, presence of acculturation, absence of acculturative stress and resilience accounted for 40% of the variability in life satisfaction, resilience emerged as the most significant factor. In the second phase another sample comprising 47 former refugees from the three countries were interviewed. Themes emerging from the qualitative analysis supported the quantitative data. The Ethiopian and Congolese participants were relatively more satisfied with their lives than participants from Burma. Those with good problem solving and language skills, and an ability to find resources, services, support and employment, reported experiencing better well-being and life satisfaction. The study has implications for mental and allied health professionals, who work with former refugees. The findings highlight personal and contextual factors that can be enhanced to increase the life satisfaction of former refugees settled in Australia.
SOURCE: Khawaja, Nigar & Hebbani, Aparna. “Factors impacting life satisfaction of refugees in Australia: A mixed method study.” The Australian Community Psychologist, 2019.
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