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Resisting refugee policy: Stress and coping of refugee advocates

Surawski, N., Pedersen, A. and Briskman, L. (2008) Resisting refugee policy: Stress and coping of refugee advocates. The Australian Community Psychologist, 20 (2). pp. 16-29.

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While there is clear evidence of the negative effects of Australian policy with respect to people seeking asylum on our shores, there is little research regarding the experiences of their advocates. In the present study, two main aims were investigated. First, we examined the stress levels of advocates and their coping strategies. Second, we examined changes in personal relationships and positive experiences as outcomes of the involvement with refugees. Eighty four refugee movement advocates completed an on-line questionnaire. Results indicated that they experienced moderate to high levels of stress in their refugee advocacy. While they used emotional support significantly more than other coping strategies, they found emotional support and instrumental support the most effective. Regardless of the high costs involved in such advocacy (e.g., financial, emotional, and interpersonal), participants noted a number of positive outcomes such as new friendships and personal growth. The findings are discussed in terms of long-term implications in relation to immigration policy and community support.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Australian Psychological Society
Copyright: Australian Psychological Society
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