Family Separation and Refugee Mental Health: a Network Perspective

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Lea-Maria Löbel

In: Social Networks 61 (2020), S. 20-33


How do the structure and relational features of family networks affect refugees’ mental health after migration, particularly when refugees are geographically separated from their family? Using the first wave of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees, which is representative of the population of refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016, this study finds that the size of the nuclear family has a significant positive relationship with refugees’ mental health, whereas family separation has a significant negative relationship. In addition to members of the nuclear family, only fathers show a significant positive correlation with refugees’ mental health. The structural and relational aspects are discussed in light of health literature focusing on migration stressors and their relationship with mental health as well as in the context of changing family reunification policies in Germany amid the increase in immigration of refugees since 2015.

Keywords: Refugees, Mental health, Personal network analysis, Ego-centered network, Spatial dispersion