To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield: Narratives on the road to asylum

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to explore the ecological influences on subjective well-being identified by current and former community-dwelling asylum seekers engaged in the process of Refugee Status Determination in Australia. This article presents the qualitative component of a prospective mixed-methods study of 131 asylum seekers and refugees (T1, N = 131; T2, N = 56). The Framework Analysis method was employed to qualitatively analyse the narrative data derived from 187 semi-structured interviews documenting pre-, peri-, and post-migration experiences, and the impact of Australia’s asylum policies and procedures. Four overarching themes comprising 15 sub-themes emerged: The Refugee Status Determination process (Waiting; Uncertainty; Worry); Psychosocial factors (Un/employment & gainful activity; Medicare; Accommodation; Family separation & loneliness; Loss); Health and well-being (Mental health; Physical health & somatic issues; Hopelessness; Helplessness); and Protective factors (Hope; Support & social connectivity; Religion). The complex interface between the Refugee Status Determination process, un/employment, and mental health concerns was the most salient finding. Policy implications are discussed in relation to the application of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Guidelines on the Judicial Approach to Expert Medical Evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • asylum seekers
  • psychosocial factors
  • qualitative study
  • Refugee Status Determination process
  • refugees
  • subjective well-being

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