Authors: Joyce O’Mahony, Shahin Kassam, Nancy Clark, Trichia Asbjoern


Research has shown that refugees in a foreign country often experience physical and mental health challenges upon resettlement (Ahmad et al., 2021; Salam et al., 2022). In Canada, refugee women experience a range of physical and mental barriers, including poor access to interpreter services and transportation, and a lack of accessible childcare, all of which can negatively affect their successful integration (Stirling Cameron et al., 2022). Social factors that support Syrian refugees to settle successfully in Canada have been unexplored systematically. This study examines these factors from the perspectives of Syrian refugee mothers living in the province of British Columbia (BC). Framed by principles of intersectionality and community-based participatory action research (PAR), the study draws on Syrian mothers’ perspectives of social support in early, middle, and later phases of resettlement. A qualitative longitudinal design consisting of a sociodemographic survey, personal diaries, and in-depth interviews was used to gather information. Descriptive data were coded, and theme categories were assigned. Six themes emerged from data analysis: (1) Steps in the Migration Journey; (2) Pathways to Integrated Care; (3) Social Determinants of Refugee Health; (4) COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts and Ongoing Resettlement; (5) Strength-Based Capabilities of Syrian mothers; (6) Peer Research Assistant’s Research (PRAs) Experience. Results from themes 5 and 6 are published separately. Data obtained in this study contribute to the development of support services that are culturally appropriate and accessible to refugee women living in BC. Our objectives are to promote the mental health and improve the quality of life of this female population, and to enable it to access healthcare services and resources in a timely manner.