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Vulnerability and psychosocial health experienced by repatriated children in Kosovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hanna Kienzler, Thomas Wenzel, Mimoza Shahini

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-286
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number1
Early online date22 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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Abstract

Accounts are increasing of non-voluntary deportations of Kosovar adolescents from European countries to Kosovo, and human rights organizations have condemned deportation practices endorsed by European governments for being violent and detrimental to adolescents’ physical and psychosocial health and well-being. However, research remains scarce on the connections among migration, repatriation and reintegration realities, and adolescents’ experiences of psychosocial health and well-being. This article describes how adolescent returnees living in Kosovo express their emotional distress, their struggle with negative living conditions, and their exposure to violence. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 adolescents with very high-level post-traumatic stress and depression symptomatology and a General Health Questionnaire score of 40 or higher. This empirical data provided in-depth information about the adolescents’ narratives of symptoms and illness, explanations of symptom and illness causation, ongoing stressors and the impacts these factors have on their health and well-being. The study found that suffering and related health problems are associated with a sense of loss and ongoing social isolation, economic problems, precarious living conditions, and discrimination. The adolescents’ lack of social and economic capital makes accessing appropriate resources and professional help for their health and social problems extremely difficult. In the discussion and conclusion section, recommendations are made for the development of appropriate and holistic psychosocial interventions focusing on well-being and human rights.

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