Methods: Drawing upon data from 351 individuals within 46 family units, the research examined the diverse experiences that contribute to the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Syrian refugee families living in Lebanon. Data were collected using innovative methods such as collaborative family interviews, neighborhood walks, and GPS-tracked activity logging.
Results: The data were organized around three themes: economic precarity, immobility, and political insecurity. The research indicates that the contextual environment—specifically a lack of safety within families’ living environments, discrimination and harassment, an inability to access stable employment, precarious legal status in Lebanon, and immobility—are correlated with a rise in stress among family members and negative mental health outcomes. For these families, the trauma of the war in Syria was not as damaging to their mental health as the everyday challenges they face in Lebanon. At the same time, our findings indicate that hope and the family’s capacity for survival offset the negative impact of economic precarity, immobility, and political insecurity. Drawing from a strengths-based framework, the findings underscore the importance of identifying family resilience, which refugee organizations, both in Lebanon and in other locations, can draw on to strengthen both policy and practice interventions.
Conclusions and Implications: While mental health practices and policies tend to focus on trauma-related issues, the findings underscore the importance of ensuring there is a focus on the root causes of everyday stressors in settings of displacement.