The Study of Adolescent Lives after Migration to America (SALaMA) is a school-based, mixed-methods research project being conducted in several school districts across the United States, as part of an ongoing partnership between Washington University in St. Louis’s Brown School and Qatar Foundation International. The study seeks to assess the mental health and psychosocial well-being of high school students (age 13 years and older) resettled to the U.S. from Arab-majority countries. It also aims to identify the sources of daily stress in these students’ lives and the corresponding support mechanisms available to them. Most recently, SALaM is now being conducted in Ireland.
Adolescence is a critical phase of development, during which physical, neural, and emotional growth are readily influenced by external factors. Experiences during this time can have a profound effect on health and wellbeing that last through adulthood. While this developmental period can be challenging for any individual, adolescents who have been – or whose parents have been – resettled from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region face a number of unique challenges ranging from exposure to conflict in countries of origin to difficult migration experiences to daily stressors related to resettlement.
Led by Professor Lindsay Stark from Washington University in St. Louis and Carine Allaf, Senior Programs Advisor at QFI, the study began in the U.S. in 2017. Through student surveys and focus group discussions, and interviews with students, parents/caregivers, and key informants, this study not only generates important estimates about the needs of this growing subpopulation, but it also seeks to produce insight into their means of resilience and best practices taken by schools, communities, and parents to support students as they adjust to life in their new home countries.
For more information, please visit the Washington University at St. Louis research page.