Discovery - University of Dundee - Online Publications

Library & Learning Centre

Experiencing ‘pathologized presence and normalized absence’; understanding health related experiences and access to health care among Iraqi and Somali asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status

Experiencing ‘pathologized presence and normalized absence’; understanding health related experiences and access to health care among Iraqi and Somali asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View graph of relations

Authors

Research units

Info

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume15
Issue number923
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2015

Abstract

Background
Asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status have been reported to experience a range of difficulties when accessing public services and supports in the UK. While research has identified health care barriers to equitable access such as language difficulties, it has not considered the broader social contexts of marginalization experienced through the dynamics of ‘othering’. The current study explores health and health care experiences of Somali and Iraqi asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status, highlighting ‘minoritization’ processes and the ‘pathologization’ of difference as analytical lenses to understand the multiple layers of oppression that contribute to health inequities.

Methods
For the study, qualitative methods were used to document the lived experiences of asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status. Thirty-five in-depth interviews and five focus groups were used to explore personal accounts, reveal shared understandings and enable social, cognitive and emotional understandings of on-going health problems and challenges when seeking treatment and care. A participatory framework was undertaken which inspired collaborative workings with local organizations that worked directly with asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status.

Results
The analysis revealed four key themes: 1) pre-departure histories and post-arrival challenges; 2) legal status; 3) health knowledges and procedural barriers as well as 4) language and cultural competence. Confidentiality, trust, wait times and short doctor-patient consultations were emphasized as being insufficient for culturally specific communications and often translating into inadequate treatment and care. Barriers to accessing health care was associated with social disadvantage and restrictions of the broader welfare system suggesting that a re-evaluation of the asylum seeking process is required to improve the situation.

Discussions
Macro- and micro-level intersections of accustomed societal beliefs, practices and norms, broad-levellegislation and policy decisions, and health care and social services delivery methods have affected the health and health care experiences of forced migrants that reside in the UK. Research highlights how ‘minoritization processes,’ influencing the intersections between social identities, can hinder access to and delivery of health and social services to vulnerable groups. Similar findings were reported here; and the most influential mechanism directly impacting health and access to health and social services was legal status.

Conclusions
Equitable health care provision requires systemic change that incorporate understandings of marginalization, ‘othering’ processes and the intersections between the past histories and everyday realities of asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status.

Keywords
Minoritization processes Othering Asylum seekers Refugees Persons without legal status Experiences of health and wellbeing Health care access Qualitative methods

Documents

Open Access permissions

Open

Documents

  • Final published version

    Final published version, 479 KB, PDF-document

    © 2015 Fang et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
    (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI

Library & Learning Centre

Contact | Accessibility | Policy