Effects of Displacement,Forced Migration, and Resettlement on Arab Family Relationships
Identified themes suggest a complex intertwining of the following influences on family relationships over the course of displacement, migration, and resettlement: (i) dramatic sociocultural changes challenge and emphasize gender norms in public and family contexts; (ii) trauma associated with living in and fleeing from conflict zones affects personal and relational well-being, risk, and resilience; (iii) the unique and complex aspects of each family’s journey direct the course of family interactions, decision-making, and settlement; and (iv) key aspects of cultural and religious values, traditions, and practices guide parents’ decisions and hopes for the future.
This presentation highlights how accepted gender norms in the pre-migration context become secondary to safety and security priorities in temporary flight, while gender role changes during resettlement in a new sociocultural context can create conflict and distance in spousal relationships. Traumatic experiences contribute to distress and conflict in family interactions, furthering suffering and increasing risk of violence in some families. For others, or at different times, family interactions and support from others contribute to resilience. Skilled service providers can play an important role in addressing personal and interpersonal struggles during resettlement. These families report a tension between integrating into a new context and holding onto valued aspects of their former family life.