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Coping with Experiences of War in Sri Lanka: Perspectives from Tamil Immigrants Living in the UK

Dharmaindra, Angeline S (2016) Coping with Experiences of War in Sri Lanka: Perspectives from Tamil Immigrants Living in the UK. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Sri Lanka was involved in war for nearly three decades, which has had a profound effect on the Tamil community. The number of Tamil people living in the UK continues to grow, yet the mental health needs of Tamil immigrants and their coping behaviours remain poorly understood. Understanding the needs of war-affected communities seems particularly important given the current migrant crisis and potentially high levels of unmet mental health need. This study aimed to understand how Tamils living in the UK have coped with their experiences of war, exploring coping both in Sri Lanka and the UK. A total of 10 participants with experience of war in Sri Lanka were recruited from a variety of Tamil community organisations across London. Snowball sampling was also utilised given participants came from a hidden population. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and a critical realist perspective was adopted during the research process. Data was analysed using thematic analysis with the assistance of MAXQDA software. Results identified six key themes: survival at all costs, the power of the mind, with the help of others you survive, the value in talking, improving life for yourself and others and searching for a different life in the UK. Within these themes, 16 sub-themes were identified. The findings suggest that Tamils in the UK utilise a range of individual, spiritual, and social coping strategies. Coping strategies differed between Sri Lanka and the UK and the findings suggest limited use of professional help-seeking. The findings highlight the particular importance placed on collective coping within this community through resource accumulation and membership to Tamil community organisations. For many Tamils their personal struggles increased their desire to contribute to their host country and country of origin through education and work. Given coping is largely facilitated through social support, community interventions should focus on increasing social capital and promoting coping strategies at both an individual and group level.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2016 11:10
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 11:10
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17611

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