Mental Wellbeing of Students from Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds: The Mediating Role of Resilience

Nigar G. Khawaja, Omar Ibrahim, Robert D. Schweitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students from migrant and refugee backgrounds are enroling in schools in the West. These students are exposed to challenges that may influence their mental health and wellbeing. At the same time, schools tend to play a critical role in promoting these students’ social relatedness through a sense of support, connectedness, and an adaptation to the new setting. The aim of the study was to assess the role of social relatedness in promoting mental wellbeing. Resilience was hypothesised as a facilitator process enhancing the relationship between social relatedness and the mental wellbeing of CALD students. Recently arrived CALD students (N = 221) enroled at a specialised high school in Australia completed a battery of measures assessing: social support, school connectedness, acculturation, resilience, and mental wellbeing. A series of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the three social relatedness factors (social support, school connectedness, and acculturation) were related to mental wellbeing. However, their variance decreased when resilience was added. Mediation analyses indicated that resilience was a partial mediator for the relationship between each of the social relatedness elements and mental wellbeing. Resilience was also shown to play a significant role in the relationship between social relatedness and mental wellbeing. School-based mental health services for CALD students from migrant and refugee backgrounds may benefit by further understanding the unique factors that influence the mental wellbeing of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Mediation
  • Mental health
  • Resilience
  • School
  • School connectedness
  • Social support
  • Students
  • Wellbeing

Cite this