Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Lea-Maria Löbel

Lea-Maria Löbel

BGSS Generation 2017



Social Support for Refugees: From Stock Taking to Intervention



In the wake of a high influx of refugees who experienced a myriad of stressful events before, during and after resettlement, increased mental strain among this migrant population can be expected. Previous research suggests that this long phase of worry can also become a barrier to integration in the host communities, decreasing the mental power to invest time in learning a new language, receive further education, and to enter the labor market of the host country. Hence, there is not only individual, but also need from a social and integration policy perspective to understand moderating and mediating factors of refugee mental strain to provide relief.

In my doctoral thesis, I will, firstly, analyze the determinants of refugee mental strain in Germany, focusing on retrospective reports on the resettlement process and the possibility of social networks as mediating or moderating factors. Secondly, attention will be given to a private initiative which was created to provide social support for refugees in form of an on-on-one mentoring between refugees and volunteering locals in 17 German cities. In a first step, I will investigate different kinds of support that are provided within such a mentoring relationship and whether the social support provided matches the demand of the refugee. In a second step, I will use random allocation in the recruitment of the mentoring program to evaluate it as to whether participation in the program decreases refugee mental strain.