Resilience and protective factors among refugee children post-migration to high-income countries: a systematic review

Charles Marley, Beatus Mauki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing numbers of children have been forced to flee and seek asylum in high-income countries. Current research indicates that focussing on resilience and protective factors is an important long-term goal for positive mental health and psychological functioning of refugee children.

We performed a systematic review of quantitative literature regarding psychological and contextual factors that contribute to resilience in refugee children residing in high-income countries. Our procedure followed guidelines from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination.

We identified a number of protective factors as related to positive outcomes. They are drawn from several ecological domains and include age, self-esteem, maintenance of cultural identity, social support, belonging and safety and innovative social care services. A key overarching point reported by the studies we reviewed was that for refugee settlement specific policies and approaches to be beneficial, they were required to be embedded within a positive socially inclusive society. We also identified several limitations across the reported studies.

The factors we identified would assist clinicians to adopt a resilience-focussed approach. However, a continued pre-occupation with psychopathology was evident across the studies, which we argue as holding back the development of resilience-focussed approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-713
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Early online date30 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • child
  • income
  • refugees
  • protective factors
  • self esteem


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