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Bridging Distance: Transnational and Local Family Ties in Refugees’ Social Support Networks

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Ellen Heidinger

In: Journal of Refugee Studies (2024), im Ersch. [online first: 2024-05-25]


This study examines the familial ties in the social support network of refugees in Germany. Itinvestigates whether distance to family plays a role in the provision of emotional and informationalsupport and how this relationship is moderated by social network services (SNS). Usingdata from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees (N¼5237), the paper provides evidence for afamily-centred network. Increasing distance to family is generally negatively associated withreceiving support. However, the strength of support from the partner and sibling is less affectedby distance than support from parents. Findings indicate that emotional support cangenerally be conveyed across greater distances, while informational support, often entailinglocation-bound aid, is not as easily transmittable. This study contributes to the understandingof refugee networks as transnational families with intergenerational differences in support. Italso refines the depiction of support dynamics as being multifaceted and potentially limiteddue to fragmented contacts.