Year: 2022 SIEC No: 20221140

Increasing numbers of children have been forced to flee and seek asylum in high-income countries. Current research indicates that focussing on resilience and protective factors is an important long-term goal for positive mental health and psychological functioning of refugee children.


We performed a systematic review of quantitative literature regarding psychological and contextual factors that contribute to resilience in refugee children residing in high-income countries. Our procedure followed guidelines from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination.


We identified a number of protective factors as related to positive outcomes. They are drawn from several ecological domains and include age, self-esteem, maintenance of cultural identity, social support, belonging and safety and innovative social care services. A key overarching point reported by the studies we reviewed was that for refugee settlement specific policies and approaches to be beneficial, they were required to be embedded within a positive socially inclusive society. We also identified several limitations across the reported studies.


The factors we identified would assist clinicians to adopt a resilience-focussed approach. However, a continued pre-occupation with psychopathology was evident across the studies, which we argue as holding back the development of resilience-focussed approaches.