Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/123970
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Type: Journal article
Title: Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia
Author: Ziersch, A.
Due, C.
Walsh, M.
Citation: BMC Public Health, 2020; 20(1):108
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 1471-2458
1471-2458
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Anna Ziersch, Clemence Due and Moira Walsh
Abstract: BACKGROUND:Research has shown that discrimination is harmful to health, but there is relatively little known about discrimination experienced by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in resettlement countries and associated health effects. This qualitative-focused mixed methods paper reports on discrimination experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, responses to discrimination, and impacts on health. METHODS:As part of a broader study of housing, social inclusion and health, surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia who had been in Australia for up to 7 years. The survey included questions on discrimination based on skin colour, ethnicity and religion, as well as questions on hope, trust, belonging, sense of control and health (including the SF-8). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 survey participants, purposively sampled by visa status, continent and gender, further exploring experiences of discrimination. These and survey open-ended responses were analysed thematically. RESULTS:Twenty-two percent of survey participants reported experiences of discrimination since arriving in Australia (14% in the last year), and 90% of these felt that discrimination had harmed their health. Key settings of discrimination were public transport, within the neighbourhood, and in relation to employment. Those who reported discrimination had significantly worse mental health (p < .000) but not physical health. Discrimination was also associated with less sense of belonging (p = .001), lower levels of trust (p = .038), reduced sense of control (p = .012) and less hope (p = .006). Incidents described in interviews and the open-ended survey responses included incivility, physical assault, and denial of services, experienced across intersecting characteristics of race/ethnicity, religion, gender and visa status. Responses to discrimination spanned affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions, ranging across types of experience, participant characteristics and context, with most individuals reporting multiple response types. While some of the responses were reported by participants as protective of health, participants' reflections indicated significant negative impacts on mental health in particular. CONCLUSION:Discrimination featured in the resettlement experiences of a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers, with participants reporting clear negative impacts on mental health. Addressing discrimination is a key resettlement and health issue requiring urgent action.
Keywords: Asylum seeker; Australia; Discrimination; Mental health; Refugee; Responses
Rights: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated
RMID: 1000013451
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-8068-3
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT120100150
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP130100782
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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