Beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors impacting healthcare utilization of Syrian refugee children

Riham M. Alwan, Daniel J. Schumacher, Sevsem Cicek-Okay, Sarah Jernigan, Ahmed Beydoun, Tasnim Salem, Lisa M. Vaughn, Vijayaprasad Gopichandran
2020 PLoS ONE  
Approximately 18,000 Syrian refugees have resettled to the United States. Half of these refugees are children, whose age and refugee status jeopardize their abilities to attain quality healthcare. Information on Syrian refugees' health in the U.S. is limited. This qualitative study sought to explore Syrian refugee parents' beliefs, perspectives, and practices regarding their children's health through in-depth interviews. Eighteen Syrian refugee parents residing in Cincinnati, Ohio were
more » ... ed in Arabic by bilingual researchers using semi-structured in-depth interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and translated. Three members of the research team independently coded each interview using an inductive thematic analysis approach. Analysis identified four salient themes: stressors preclude health seeking behaviors, parents perceive health barriers, parents are dissatisfied with the healthcare system, and parents use resilience behaviors to overcome barriers. Stressors included poor housing and neighborhoods, reliving traumatic experiences, depression and anxiety, and social isolation. Dissatisfaction included emergency room wait times, lack of testing and prescriptions. Health barriers included missed appointments and inadequate transportation, translation services, health literacy and care coordination. Parents reported resilience through faith, by seeking knowledge, use of natural remedies, and utilizing community resources. This qualitative study provides information on the beliefs, practices, and behaviors of Syrian refugee parents related to health care utilization of pediatric refugees in the United States. Psychosocial and environmental stressors as well as perceived systemic health barriers, hinder health seeking behaviors in Syrian refugee parents. Culturally relevant care targeting perceived barriers and incorporating resilience behaviors may improve parental satisfaction and parental health seeking behaviors. Further study is needed to implement and evaluate interventions that target identified barriers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237081 pmid:32764783 fatcat:vpsab4usmncwlo5u4a5s3jgb5e