The Role of Trauma for Integration - The Case of Syrian Refugees

This paper examines the role of traumatic experiences in the short-term integration of Syrian refugees in Germany. Drawing from the literature, and using dose-response and stress process theory, we presume that there is a negative effect of experiencing traumatic events, pre- and during migration, on integration. We con- centrate our analysis on a sub-population of asylum seekers and refugees from Syria that have arrived in the last refugee wave in 2014/2015, who have a high incidence level of potentially traumatizing events. We use the Qualifications, Potentials and Life Courses of Syrian Refugees (QPLC) survey which has a module on pre- and during-migration stressors and measures structural integration as well as German language acquisition. In contrast to the a priori assumptions in the literature, we find that there is actually a positive effect of traumatic experiences on cognitive-cul- tural integration, i.e., language acquisition, and close to zero effect on structural integration, i.e., employment and education enrolment. We posit that due to possi- ble higher motivation to remain in the new country, in the short run, Syrian refu- gees and asylum seekers seem to be integrating despite the added burdens of having experienced traumatic events.

Hunker, Christian, and May Khourshed (2020): The Role of Trauma for Integration. The Case of Syrian Refugees Soziale Welt 71(2-3): 191-223:


Dr. Christian Hunkler

Dr. Christian Hunkler

Postdoctoral Researcher in the units "Labor Market, Migration, and Integration" and "Education and Integration"

Fon: +49 (0)30 - 2093-46258