Forced Transnational Migration and Resilience Strategies:
The Case of Syrian Asylum Seekers in the Republic of Italy
Within the field of anthropology of displacement, the research analyzes dynamics of resilience in unaccompanied asylum seeking adolescents. Specifically, by using a Social-Ecological Model (SEM), it investigates lived experiences, the process of “othering” and identity construction, in the autobiographies of Syrians hosted by the Republic of Italy. To do that, the author first examines the impact of war-induced displacement on mental health status (for example, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder/MDD and anxiety). Next, migration as a cultural dynamism in which agency and social structures play interconnected roles. Finally, migrant’ self-reliance in situations of heteroglossia and heterogeneity.
A cohort consisted of 30 unaccompanied male adolescents with an assessed age of 18-19 years was evaluated through individual in-depth interviews and psychological testing. Results suggest that emotional disconnection, asylum status, alienation and cultural bereavement contribute to a psychopathology and thus difficulties in adjustment to life. The findings appeal to the Italian government to limit the scope for divergence in national approaches and to strengthen the legal framework for asylum procedures to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place. Mental health workers and physicians should consider focusing treatments on both past-traumas and problems in living faced by asylees in the country of resettlement.