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Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023)

Peer support groups and peer mentoring in refugee adolescents and young adults: A literature review

July 13, 2023


Peer support and peer mentoring have been used in various contexts as interventions to improve mental health and help people cope with life difficulties. This literature review explores the application of these methods for adolescent refugees. It also attempts to determine the effectiveness of these interventions, the methodology of assessment of their effectiveness and the specific settings where they have been used. We conducted a review of studies that included peer support and peer mentoring interventions for adolescent refugees/asylum seekers. We searched Google Scholar, PUBMED and SCOPUS, for the period from 2011 to September 2021. The review identified only five studies that met our criteria in terms of demographic characteristics and type of intervention. Four of the five studies used only qualitative methods for their assessment. Only one of them used quantitative methods to determine the intervention’s effectiveness. The settings included schools, universities, and other general community spaces. The refugee status varied between asylum seekers and refugee status. There is a need for more rigorous and methodologically consistent research, using more quantitative methods to enable clearer comparison of evidence-based results. The usefulness of peer mentoring and peer support should also be explored in more contexts, such as in Reception and Identification Centers for asylum seekers. Despite these shortcomings of the current literature, all the reviewed papers outline a positive impact of the interventions on young refugees’ lives in terms of mental health benefits, coping with life difficulties, or gaining access to valuable resources.