The impact of migration on health beliefs and behaviours: the case of Ethiopian refugees in the UK.

Papadopoulos, Irena ORCID logoORCID:, Lay, Margaret, Lees, Shelley and Gebrehiwot, Alem (2003) The impact of migration on health beliefs and behaviours: the case of Ethiopian refugees in the UK. Contemporary Nurse, 15 (3) . pp. 210-221. ISSN 1037-6178 [Article] (doi:10.5172/conu.15.3.210)


The Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health, Middlesex University and the Ethiopian Community Centre in the UK conducted a study to explore the migration experiences of Ethiopian refugees in the UK and the impact of this on their health beliefs and behaviours. Data was collected via: i) semi-structured interviews were conducted with Ethiopians refugees and asylum seekers and Ethiopian professionals providing services for Ethiopian refugees; ii) a semi-structured questionnaire; iii) a documentary analysis of newspaper articles concerning refugees; and iv) an ethnohistory of Ethiopia. The findings revealed that Ethiopian refugees place a stronger emphasis on externalised factors influencing health (such as happiness and good social relations) than they did in Ethiopia. The study found that participants fled Ethiopia due to oppression, violence, fear and poverty; and once in the UK experience poor housing, unemployment, racism and isolation, all of which impact on their health status. Whilst it is difficult to ascertain how these factors affect health beliefs it is probable that these negative experiences and the consequent unhappiness they have caused have highlighted to them the relationship between health and subjective well-being, something that people who have not suffered such life traumas may take for granted. In the UK Ethiopian refugees are more likely to seek Western medicine than they did in Ethiopia, which reflects both acculturation and differences in health resources. This study highlights that Ethiopian refugees, require holistic health care that addresses all their needs - physical, mental, spiritual, environmental and social-cultural. Nurses should understand that many refugees have had traumatic experiences and continue to live in desperate circumstances. Thus nurses should be aware of the experiences, needs and beliefs of refugees and address their own cultural competence.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 6258
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Depositing User: Rena Papadopoulos
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2010 05:03
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 09:20

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