the psychosocial adjustment of syrian refugee children in lebanese public schools

Ar Fr

This study is the first of its kind aiming at investigating the relationship between socio-demographic variables of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, classroom environment and their level of psychosocial adjustment. A mixed methods approach of quantitative and qualitative data was used. A total of 410 female and male Syrian refugee students of grades 4- 5 and 6 with a mean age of 11.4 years, who arrived to Lebanon in the year 2011 till the year 2017 were included in the study. Quantitative data was collected through 4 questionnaires: classroom environment using the classroom environment scale (CES); socio-demographics including age, gender, parental level of education and length of stay in the host country; psychosocial adjustment, the dependent variable, encompasses two other variables: 1) the emotional and behavioral wellbeing of the children, measured through the SDQ (strength and difficulty questionnaire) and 2) the sense of school belonging measured through the psychological sense of school membership (PSSM). Qualitative data was collected through 4 focus groups discussions of random selected students from the sample, in addition to 3 semi-structured interviews with correspondent school supervisors. Pearson correlation, t-test and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data. Qualitative data from interviews conducted with student focus groups and school supervisors were also schematized, analyzed and reported. Results indicated that the older the children, the better their psychosocial adjustment; girls were found better adjusted than boys. A strong positive correlation between school climate and students’ psychosocial adjustment was also emphasized through this study. The qualitative results highlighted the role of positive relationships between students. The formation of inter-group alliances among student refugees played an important role in minimizing their psychosocial difficulties and acting as a buffer in facilitating the students’ resettlement. Moreover, parental involvement in the school life was found of utmost importance in fostering their children’s sense of school belonging. Practical implications to promote the psychosocial adjustment of Syrian refugee children inside and outside the school – at the identification, prevention and intervention level – were also discussed. (Author's abstract)