Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Psychological Well-being of Migrants and Refugees Settled in Spain

Reference: Garrido, R., Paloma, V., Benítez, I., Skovdal, M., Verelest, A. & Derluyn, I. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological well-being of migrants and refugees settled in Spain. Ethnicity & Health.

Abstract: Objectives. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health inequalities worldwide, having a disproportionately harsh impact on unprivileged populations such as migrants and refugees. These populations are often more exposed to the virus, but less protected, while at the same time being at higher risk of suffering from poor living and working conditions, limited access to healthcare, and discrimination by the host society, all of which is challenging to their mental health. Empirical evidence on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting migrants and refugees is required to design effective actions aimed at ensuring health equity. Therefore, this paper aims to analyse how the pandemic has impacted the psychological well-being of migrants and refugees living in Spain.

Design. This study was carried out within the framework of the ApartTogether study sponsored by the World Health Organization. Data collection was carried out during March-November 2020, through an online survey completed by 241 participants (age: M = 37 years; 129 women).

Results. The results indicate that 78.7% of participants had suffered a decrease in their psychological well-being since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with number of difficulties and worries experienced being the best individual predictors of this outcome. Enjoying social connections and perceiving positive treatment from the host society were positively associated with psychological well-being at a relational and community level, respectively.

Conclusion. Based on these findings, we outline priority areas of psychosocial interventions aimed at guaranteeing the mental health of migrants and refugees in the face of the pandemic in Spain.

Keywords: COVID-19, Psychological well-being, Migrants, Refugees, Ecological approach, Mental health.

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