Over half of the 21.3 million refugees worldwide are under the age of 18 (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2015). Although resettlement provides refugee youth relative safety and hope for a new life, they may encounter many challenges as they adjust to their new home, school, and community. They may also suffer from trauma-related health issues as they attempt to adjust. For these reasons, it is important to understand which factors promote resilience in refugee youth despite the stressors they may face so that schools and communities can better assist refugee families during resettlement.
Based on the Family Stress Model (FSM: e.g., Masarik & Conger, 2017), we hypothesized that participation in extracurricular activities promotes positive adjustment among refugee adolescents who are resettling in their place of refuge. We conducted an illustrative literature review to determine whether this hypothesis was supported in existing empirical studies. Overall, we found that extracurricular activities promotes a sense of belonging in schools, personal responsibility, and engagement in the learning process.
In the future, we recommend that researchers focus on refugee youth from similar cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds so that culture-specific processes and values can be investigated in relation to extracurricular activity and adjustment outcomes.
Knudson, Alex, "Extracurriculars and Refugee Youth Adjustment in Schools: An Illustrative Review" (2017). 2017 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference.