University of Tasmania
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A qualitative investigation of mental health in women of refugee background resettled in Tasmania, Australia

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posted on 2023-05-21, 03:19 authored by Hawkes, C, Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris, Joyce, J, Paton, D

Background: Women of Refugee Background (WoRB) are a highly vulnerable population with complex going mental health needs following resettlement. In Australia, there has been a substantial increase in WoRB being resettled in rural and regional locations. Despite this, no research to date has specifically focused on factors contributing to mental distress in WoRB in regional resettlement locations. The current study aimed to address this gap in literature.

Methods: 21 semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with WoRB and service providers in regional locations of Tasmania, Australia. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed utilising Braun and Clarke (Qual Res Psychol 3(2):77–101, 2006) framework for conducting thematic analysis.

Results: Thematic analysis revealed that WoRB conceptualised mental health as a pathogenic entity, which significantly influenced their mental health help-seeking behaviours. The findings also highlighted how resettlement to a rural and regional location of Australia may exacerbate many of the factors which contribute to ongoing mental distress in WoRB.

Conclusions: The findings of the current study build upon existing research which indicates the adverse impacts postmigrations stressors can have on the mental health of individuals of refugee background. Furthermore, this study suggests that the current services and supports available to WoRB resettled in regional locations of Australia are inadequate, and under-resources. These findings are discussed in regard to practical and policy implications which should be addressed to better support the mental health of WoRB resettled in rural and regional locations of Australia.


Publication title

BMC Public Health








School of Psychological Sciences


Biomed Central Ltd

Place of publication

Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland St, London, England, W1T 4Lb

Rights statement

© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health services

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