Developmental and acculturation predictors of changes in self-efficacy among new arrived refugee youth: a national study in Australia

Stream: Beyond the three E’s: country, community, family and individual factors associated with refugee integration
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 3.40 pm – 5.00 pm


Most research focusing on refugee transitions has focused on mental health and found that youth experience high rates of mental disorders (Fazel, Reed, Panter-Brick & Stein, 2012). However, given the broad range of postmigration stressors, and acculturation difficulties experienced by young people it is important to understand psychological resources that enable adaptation. One such psychological resource is self-efficacy– “judgements of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations” (Bandura, 1982). Given that Bandura has theorized that self-efficacy can vary across efficacy domains, we focus on changes in general and refugee-specific perceptions of self-efficacy in young people over a three-year period.

We hypothesize that self-efficacy beliefs will increase over time and that changes in general and specific self-efficacy to be only moderately correlated over time. We hypothesize that improved English language skills and increases in social support are related to improved self-efficacy while increases in the experience of discrimination reduces self-efficacy. The analysis is based on the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) study and our sample is young people age 14-24 years (n = 397). At wave 1 age, time since arrival, greater language skills and greater levels of community support were associated with greater refugee self-efficacy. However, at wave 1 only higher language skills was associated with higher levels of general self-efficacy. Fixed effect regressions suggest improvements in language skills were associated with improvements in general and refugee specific self-efficacy. Changes in social support and discrimination were not associated with self-efficacy variables.


Ben Edwards (Presenter), Australian National University
Associate Professor Ben Edwards is a Senior Fellow at the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods where he is focused on policy relevant research on child and youth development. Ben is Co-Editor of the Australian Journal of Social Issues.

He is an expert in longitudinal studies of child and youth development, linkage of administrative data to surveys and longitudinal studies of disadvantaged groups such as refugees.