Mira Elise Glaser Holthe, Kerstin Söderström

Adversarial Growth among Refugees: A Scoping Review

  • General Social Sciences

Background: The main aims of this scoping review are to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing knowledge about adversarial growth among refugees, and to gain insight into the complexity of post-trauma development. Methods: We applied a systematic search strategy resulting in the inclusion of 43 quantitative and qualitative empirical studies. Our findings underscore the prevalence of growth as a common phenomenon among refugees, emphasizing the positive associations with problem-focused coping, optimism, positive reappraisal, religiosity, and social support. Additionally, this review sheds light on the qualitative experiences and outcomes of growth, particularly pro-social outcomes, and the cultural and religious aspects of growth processes. Findings concerning the role of time and post-migration factors on growth processes highlight the need for more studies among established refugees. In sum, the findings supplement and lend nuance to pathology-oriented research, while acknowledging the severity of suffering and trauma and their consequences for individuals. We suggest that further research should focus on existential aspects and theories of growth: compassion, altruism, and pro-sociality following trauma, and the importance of religious and cultural elements in growth processes.

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