Social support as a moderator of acculturative stress among refugees and asylum seekers

Walter Renner1, Anton-Rupert Laireiter2, Marco J. Maier3
1Department of Psychology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
2Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Austria
3Institute for Statistics and Mathematics, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
Cite this article:  Renner, W., Laireiter, A., & Maier, M. (2012). Social support as a moderator of acculturative stress among refugees and asylum seekers. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 40, 129-146.

Volume 40 Issue 1 | e2394 | Published: January 2012 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2012.40.1.129

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A group of 63 refugees and asylum seekers, comprising 27 women and 36 men with a mean age of 33.08 years (SD = 10.3) from Chechnya and Afghanistan were granted sponsorship for 6 months and were randomized to an intervention or waiting-list control group. Only those participants who had been traumatized benefited from the intervention. For the traumatized subsample, sponsorship led to a significant and stable decrease in anxiety, depression, and psychological problems as compared to the control group, with effect sizes comparable to those of psychotherapy. As the effects were palliative rather than instrumental, sponsorship did not instigate improvements in acculturation, societal contact, or coping capability. Women benefited from the intervention more than men, and Afghans benefited more than Chechens.
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