Ongoing Project:

Implementing Research on the Impact of Social Isolation on Refugee Children and Youth: Their Resilience and Coping Mechanisms

Researchers: Akm Alamgir1,2, Christopher Kyriakides2, Andrew Johnston3
Access Alliance1, York University2, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)3
Keywords: refugee children, refugee youth, social isolation, COVID-19, lockdown, wellbeing, coping strategies, peer researchers, systematic review, Toronto


Overview: This study engages youth with lived experience as co-researchers to examine the effects of social isolation on youth’s wellbeing and their coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Objective: to understand the impact of social isolation on refugee children and youth, as well as their coping mechanisms. The research team will develop an evidence-informed practice fact sheet to inform research, policy making, and practice that supports the wellbeing of refugee children and youth during prolonged social isolation. 

Research Justification: Long-term lockdowns and social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented experiences which may have severe negative effects on refugee youth’s wellbeing. Community stakeholders, including refugee children, youth, and families, service providers, school boards, researchers, policy makers, and community organizations, will benefit from a better understanding of youth’s experiences and their coping strategies.


The research team, including peers with lived experience,  will conduct a rigorous systematic review of existing literature to assess the impact of social isolation on refugee children and youth, as well as their coping mechanisms to overcome the adverse effects on their health and wellbeing. The research team will then validate their findings at peer-led workshops.

The following research questions guide this project:

  1. During the COVID-19 pandemic, what has the experience of prolonged social isolation been for refugee children and youth?
  2. Where are refugee children and youth accessing support during periods of prolonged social distancing?
  3. What types of resiliency strategies and coping mechanisms have refugee children and youth used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
  4. What are current gaps in accessibility to amenities and necessary supports for refugee children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing measures?

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