Adversity, emotion, and resilience among Syrian refugees in the Netherlands

Syrian refugees comprise the vast majority of refugees in the Netherlands. Although some research has been carried out on factors promoting refugee resilience, there have been few empirical studies on the resilience of Syrian refugees.


We used a qualitative method to understand adversity, emotion, and the factors contributing to resilience in Syrian refugees. We interviewed eighteen adult Syrian refugees residing in the Netherlands and used thematic analysis to identify the themes.


We identified themes and organized them into three main parts describing the challenges (pre and post-resettlement), key emotions pertaining to those experiences, and resilience factors. We found six primary protective factors internally and externally promoting participants' resilience: future orientation, coping strategies, social support, opportunities, religiosity, and cultural identity. In addition, positive emotions constituted a key feature of refugees’ resilience.


The results highlight the challenges and emotions in each stage of the Syrian refugees’ journey and the multitude of factors affecting their resilience. Our findings on religiosity and maintaining cultural identity suggest that resilience can be enhanced on a cultural level. So it is worth noting these aspects when designing prevention or intervention programs for Syrian refugees.

Tengku Nila Fadhlia, Disa A. Sauter & Bertjan Doosje | 2022
In: BMC Psychology ; ISSN: 2050-7283 | 10 | 1 | November | 257
Adults, Coping Behavior, Cultural Values, Emotional States, Interview Schedules, Mental health, Migration, Netherlands, Refugees, Religiosity, Research, Research Participation, Resettlement, Resilience, Social Support, Syrians, Traumatic events