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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 61-77

Using mixed methods to build knowledge of refugee mental health

1 Professor of Psychiatryat the University of Illinois at Chicago. He conducts a programme of research concerning migration and refugees with a focus on mental health, HIV prevention and countering violent extremism
2 M.P.H. is a medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago
3 M.P.H. is a research coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Mixed methods research, which combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research approaches, should be well suited to studying refugee mental health. However, this has not yet been adequately discussed nor demonstrated within the existing scientific literature. This paper aims to begin to fill this gap and describes how mixed methods have been used in refugee mental health research. Twenty-nine articles from the health and social sciences literature were systematically reviewed with a focus on study designs and key findings. The studies reviewed were mostly conducted in high income countries in Europe, Australia, and North America. The mixed methods studies largely involved surveys and interviews, and the designs were mostly sequential and explanatory. The key mixed methods findings were in the domains of loss of connection, loss of status, lack of adequate services and resilience. One mixed methods research example, which studied protective resources among adolescent refugees in US resettlement, is offered to illustrate some advantages of mixed methods data collection and analysis. There is, however, a need for further research on refugee mental health which takes advantage of the full spectrum of mixed methods designs to address priority needs and questions, especially involving resilience and resilience focused interventions.

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