University of Leicester
2018SMITHADCLINPSY.pdf (1.62 MB)

Understanding the Experiences of Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Young People as They Turn Eighteen Whilst Subject to UK Immigration Control

Download (1.62 MB)
posted on 2018-11-07, 11:32 authored by Alison Smith
Systematic Literature Review: Nine papers pertaining to the experiences of unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth in England and Ireland were critically reviewed. An interpretative meta-synthesis identified three main analytical themes: Ubiquity of threat, impacting on powerlessness and security; Tensions and resistance, highlighting assets and means of countering threat; and Growth and future (framed by loss), pointing to the role of loss as the young people acted forwards into their futures. A rigorous quality assessment of reviewed studies found important contextual factors tended to be neglected. Implications are discussed in terms of how clinical practice might best attend to how young people seeking asylum alone are attuned to multi-level and persistent threats inherent to the post-migratory environment. Research methodologies employing reflexive, contextualised frameworks are discussed as offering utility. Greater attendance to the impact of context, particularly immigration status and access to social capital, is needed. Research Report: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the sense-making of four young Afghan men during interviews focused on experiences of turning eighteen whilst subject to UK immigration control. Three super-ordinate themes were presented: ‘It’s on me: The push and pull of control’, highlighting tensions and contradictions of power; ‘The threat of having nothing and being no-one’, pointing to experiential loss of meaning and purpose; and ‘Finding a place for struggle and resistance’, attending to purposeful responses to threat. Implications are discussed relating to the need for therapeutic endeavour to be cognisant of, and responsive to, broad contextual factors when working with this group, rendering visible aspects of power and bearing witness to moments of resistance in the face of ontological insecurity. Critical Appraisal: A reflexive overview of the research project contextualised



Morgan, Gareth; Melluish, Stephen

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Theses




    Ref. manager