Refugee Health and Social Outcomes

By: Hayley Pierce  

The wellbeing of displaced people is an important humanitarian issue, considering that 65.6 million people are currently forced from their home. As a result, there is a need for a conceptual model to understand consequences of displacement and effective programs to address these consequences. People become refugees for a variety of reasons and research rarely compares across refugee contexts. There are many potential differences and similarities between refugee groups and a lack of proper research comparisons are denying these patterns. This paper initiates discussion of issues that need to be considered in building a framework to understand the effects of displacement by comparing different types and consequences of displacement. Using data from the 2012 Haitian and Jordanian Demographic and Health Surveys, I examine three questions regarding the impact of refugee status on health and social outcomes. First, are displaced women more disadvantaged than residents in terms of reproductive health and domestic violence? Second, is the relative disadvantage influenced by country context? And third, is relative disadvantage influenced by social characteristics? Analysis shows that there is not a reproductive health disadvantage, but there is a domestic disadvantage. Second, although context matters for overall wellbeing, it does not have a big effect on the relative disadvantage. I suggest that if social disadvantage is evident in these two disparate settings, there may be a general pattern. And third, relative disadvantage is evident in all social characteristic sub-groups, implying that displacement exposes women to risks of violence regardless of setting or social characteristic.

Refugee, Maternal Health, Reproductive Health, Domestic Violence
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Hayley Pierce

Assistant Professor, Sociology, Brigham Young University, United States
United States