How do unaccompanied kids address pressured migration?


Tales of the plight of migrants and the heated politics surrounding the difficulty are virtually a every day prevalence within the UK information. It’s close to unattainable to not be emotionally affected by the images of scared kids, pressured to go away their properties and households, touring on boats or different means to hunt higher lives.

Within the 12 months previous to June 2023, there have been 5,186 asylum functions to the UK by unaccompanied kids, some as younger as 14, accounting for 7% of complete functions (Refugee Council, 2023). Many of those kids and younger folks have skilled unimaginable adversity and trauma earlier than and through migration. They might have witnessed excessive violence and the homicide of family members, or been victims of trafficking and abuse. Understandably, quite a lot of these younger folks expertise intense emotions of loss, concern, and guilt.

There was quite a lot of analysis into the affect of adversities following pressured migration (e.g. Derluyn et al, 2023). Nevertheless, unaccompanied kids typically show quite a lot of interior power regardless of these experiences. How do these younger folks develop resilience? This analysis sought to reply this query by asking the younger folks straight about their very own lived experiences.

In the past 12 months, there were 5,186 asylum applications from unaccompanied children.

Prior to now 12 months, there have been 5,186 asylum functions within the UK from unaccompanied kids.


The lead researcher (who self-identifies as a white girl) invited members by means of a small London charity supporting younger refugees and migrants. Recruitment was within the type of conversations concerning the analysis with younger folks with consent gained previous to interviews. Interviews have been performed in group venues and developed in session with an skilled caseworker. Collaboration with interpreters was used when wanted and applicable, and younger folks have been permitted to make use of drawings or examples to clarify tough ideas. Interpretative phenomenological evaluation (IPA) was used to analyse the information, enabling researchers to mirror on the context of the experiences.


5 male younger folks of Sudanese, Syrian, Eritrean, and Kurdish origin have been interviewed. 4 recognized as Muslim and one as Christian. Three overarching themes of coping have been recognized from the interview knowledge.

Participating in a brand new life

Younger folks have been discovered to handle their loss with actions (“faculty is wish to neglect about, to assist me neglect my household”) and settle for life adjustments on account of an absence of alternate options (“…I’ve no choice to return so I’ve to simply accept every little thing that comes”). The authors talk about how the younger folks interviewed actively reply and adapt to their state of affairs, and that that is within the wider context of the loss they’ve skilled. This loss contains the thought of cultural bereavement (Eisenbruch, 1991).

Negotiating independence by means of connectedness

Members shared how they’d developed their very own independence, and this was each required of them and a valued best (“I do know very properly that since I’m right here alone, I’ve to assist myself”). The power to be self-reliant was related to their connection to others and tradition (“after God, the folks round you, they enable you to… folks being round me they gave me power… we now have one another”). This theme was linked to the acculturative course of, and the way independence was drawn from associates and group within the absence of their dwelling and household. This independence additionally intersects with these younger folks changing into younger adults.

A non secular worldview

Faith was described as serving to the members perceive the previous, the current, and the long run (“I imagine in God 100%, that’s why God is every little thing…I got here to England while some folks died within the Sahara, died in Libya… I say on daily basis, thank God”). This was true for each those that recognized as Muslim and as Christian. Some additionally spoke of feeling reassured by their faith and the way it helped to attach them with misplaced household (“Although I misplaced my brother, there aren’t any ensures for me… I’ll go tomorrow, so all I’ve to do is simply pray for my brother and pray for myself”). One participant introduced a extra conflicted view on faith. The authors linked this to how difficulties can come up when people expertise spiritual doubt, and this can be significantly distressing for these in Islamic communities as disbelief is usually socially unacceptable.

Engaging with the community, faith, and activities helped unaccompanied young refugees to adapt to the new life and cope with cultural and familial loss.

Participating with the group, religion, and actions helped unaccompanied younger refugees to adapt to their new life and address cultural and familial loss.


The authors concluded that the recognized themes have been appropriate with present theories on coping following pressured migration. Younger folks discover energetic coping methods within the context of great loss, the significance of a way of independence, and the way that is developed by means of reference to others. Faith gives “a information and a basis” for these younger folks’s experiences throughout their resettlement within the host nation.

Young people find active coping strategies in the context of significant loss, including personal loss and “cultural bereavement”.

Younger folks discover energetic coping methods within the context of great loss, together with private loss and “cultural bereavement”.

Strengths and limitations

The analysis is evident in its intent and frames the analysis query inside clearly described present theories. As acknowledged in my very own introduction to this weblog, the expertise of migrants is an emotionally and politically provocative matter. Exploring the lived expertise of unaccompanied migrants and the way they show coping methods is a useful addition to those discussions. Because the authors state, the conclusions drawn have real-life implications.

Qualitative methodology for this analysis, particularly IPA (interpretative phenomenological evaluation), makes sensible sense when exploring the experiences of younger unaccompanied migrants. IPA is an method that goals to discover lived expertise in an idiographic method and is especially helpful when exploring emotionally laden subjects (Larkin, Flowers & Smith 2009). It allowed the researchers to analyse every interview with out being restricted by theoretical preconceptions. The researchers introduced a rigorous knowledge evaluation course of, detailing how “every interview was analysed in its personal proper… three ranges of interpretation: descriptive, linguistic and conceptual”. The primary writer additionally acknowledges her personal interviewer bias as a white girl and the way this will have impacted how the interviewees responded.

I do have some reservations relating to inhabitants validity for this analysis. The writer explains how they volunteered at a youth centre run by a charity for younger refugees and migrants. Nevertheless, the element relating to recruitment is missing. There isn’t any info relating to the overall attendance on the centre and who was approached relating to participation. What was the demographic breakdown of the centre attendees? The authors solely interviewed males. Had been any females offered info relating to the examine? It is also argued that the younger individuals who attend such centres often is the ones most certainly to utilise connection as a coping technique, and will not mirror the experiences of younger individuals who didn’t have interaction with the charity.

All of the participants were male. Can the same conclusions be applied to young female unaccompanied migrants?

All the members have been male. Can the identical conclusions be utilized to younger feminine unaccompanied refugees?

Implications for follow

Because the authors state, this analysis additional emphasises the significance of unaccompanied younger migrants having the ability to entry group assist, significantly assist that’s culturally related. It’s plain that these younger folks have skilled quite a lot of loss and sure trauma which can have a major psychological well being affect.

Nevertheless, this analysis calls into query the need of one-to-one psychological interventions versus addressing the doubtless harsh realities of their present lived expertise. For instance, if anyone is disabled and resides in housing with out elevate entry and experiences anxiousness because of this, I’d counsel it might be extra useful for that particular person to be rehoused relatively than entry remedy. Equally, relatively than specializing in particular person interventions for unaccompanied younger folks following pressured migration, coverage and funding might have extra affect by growing their social connections and offering them with the instruments to be impartial. It could be useful for future analysis to supply extra sturdy proof for the advantages of partaking with culturally related group providers, as typically commissioners and policymakers require quantitative knowledge when making funding selections.

There are additionally strict household reunion guidelines within the UK, and unaccompanied kids are unable to use for his or her mother and father to hitch them (Migrant Council, 2023). This analysis gives additional proof of younger folks’s expertise of loss and their must have a way of connection to dwelling. While I do acknowledge I’m biased on account of my very own perception {that a} little one ought to have the ability to reconnect with their household, I do additionally really feel the proof means that connection to their households might enhance the wellbeing of unaccompanied migrants which can in the long run scale back their use of native authority and NHS providers.

Lastly, as somebody who works with younger folks and households, it is very important not solely be trauma-informed, but additionally take a strengths-based method. By acknowledging their resilience and energetic roles in their very own lives, we will help to empower the person. These younger folks show nice interior power regardless of their opposed experiences and maybe proof that it might additionally assist to cut back the stigma which may be held by most of the people.

Policy-makers and commissioners need to fund more culturally-relevant community services.

Coverage-makers and commissioners must fund extra culturally related group providers.

Assertion of pursuits



Main paper

Scott, J., Mason, B. and Kelly, A. (2022): ‘After god, we give power to one another’: younger folks’s experiences of coping within the context of unaccompanied pressured migration, Journal of Youth Research,

Different references

Derluyn, I., Orsini, G., Verhaeghe, F., Elhaj, R., Lietaert, I., & Pfeiffer, E. (2023). The affect of trauma and every day hardships on the psychological well being of unaccompanied migrant minors detained in Libya. BJPsych Open, 9(1), E8. doi:10.1192/bjo.2022.622

Eisenbruch, M. (1991). From post-traumatic stress dysfunction to cultural bereavement: Prognosis of Southeast Asian refugees. Social science & medication, 33(6), 673-680.

Jakobsen, M., Demott, M. A., & Inheritor, T. (2014). Prevalence of psychiatric issues amongst unaccompanied asylum-seeking adolescents in Norway. Scientific follow and epidemiology in psychological well being: CP & EMH, 10, 53.

Larkin, M., Flowers, P., & Smith, J. A. (2021). Interpretative phenomenological evaluation: Idea, technique and analysis. Interpretative phenomenological evaluation, 1-100.

Prime information from the newest statistics on migrants and folks in search of asylum, Refugee Council. Final accessed 25 August 2023.

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