The impact of immigration detention on the mental health of adults

Gallagher, Alanna (2017) The impact of immigration detention on the mental health of adults. D.Clin.Psychol. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Introduction: Immigration detention leads to poor mental health outcomes. Little qualitative research has been conducted focusing on immigrants’ experiences of detention centres or the mechanisms of the particular psychosocial processes involved in harm and resilience, particularly for women in the UK.

Method: A social constructionist grounded theory methodology was used. Ten adults (seven females), previously detained in UK immigration detention, were interviewed. Transcribed interview data was analysed to develop categories.

Results: An initial model of the psychosocial processes of immigration detention was developed, which included the means by which individuals’ adaptation, resistance, and survival is navigated. Life as a liminal refugee and imposed criminality through institutionalisation and an unjust system was described. Detainees were not believed and felt uncared for. Detainees internalised persecution, injustice, and threat. They responded with physical and emotional. Detainees also responded with agency and defiance. They supported each other and made use of advocates. Recovery after release from detention involved processing and re-establishing oneself, despite on-going challenges.

Discussion: Immigration detention has enduring effects that reflect internalisation of institutional processes. Disempowerment and resilience are discussed. Treatment may be similar to that used for complex therapy. Professionals should consider ethics and actions in relation to immigration detention.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Immigration detention; adult mental health; resilience; grounded theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 15:42
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2018 07:13

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00