Psychosocial support among refugees of conflict in developing countries: a critical literature review

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the psychosocial needs and stressors among refugees of conflicts within developing countries, and their group based, social support mechanisms. Systematic literature searches of peer reviewed journal articles (n = 60 articles) were carried out using the following factors: type (refugee); cause (conflicts); location (developing countries). As refugees move towards a prolonged urban displacement phase, needs and stressors became different than those of the acute phase. While daily stressors affect far more people than posttraumatic stress disorder, many psychosocial support interventions focus only on the latter. Positive effects of social support on the mental health of displaced people have been established, while the process is not yet clear, group processes and identities appear to be important. The authors suggest, therefore, that a social identity approach can be applied to understand the emergence of a common refugee identity, and its role in empowerment through activating social support networks.

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