Social Support and the Significance of Shared Experience in Refugee Migration and Resettlement

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Abstract

This article examines the role of social support as a determinant of refugee well-being and migration patterns during early resettlement. Analysis is based on qualitative in-depth interviews with 47 government-assisted refugees in Canada and 38 key informants (settlement service providers and immigration officials) in Canada and overseas. The study describes refugees' decision making during stages of migration and resettlement, from whom they seek social support in particular situations, what sources are appraised as most important, and what is significant about the support. The authors suggest that a goal of refugees support-seeking strategies is affirmation through shared experience.

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