Sponsorships for Adult Refugees: the Effects of Social Support on Well-being
W. Renner1, A.-R. Laireiter2, B. Juen3
1Alpen-Adria-Universitšt Klagenfurt
2Universitšt Salzburg
3Universitšt Innsbruck
Background: Based on Berry's acculturation theory and on concepts of social support, we tested the assumption that sponsorships by laypeople would moderate acculturative stress by reducing psychological and physical strain and by enhancing psychological and socio-cultural adaptation in refugees. Methods: N = 63 Chechnyan and Afghan refugees (N = 27 female, mean age of 33.08 years, s = 10.3) were randomized to a sponsorship group, which was granted support for six months and a control group with no support. Questionnaires assessing well-being by life satisfaction, self-esteem, interpersonal contact and assistance and by the absence of marked clinical symptoms were administered at pre, post, and follow-up occasions. Findings: Sponsorships had distinct palliative effects on traumatized participants only. As compared to the control group, their well-being improved significantly and persistently as indicated by the absence of severe clinical symptoms. There were no significant instrumental effects (e.g. improvement of living conditions). Discussion: The results advocate sponsorships as a means of improving well-being in refugees suffering from acculturative and post-traumatic stress.