American Univesity of Beirut

Social capital, social cohesion, and health of Syrian refugee working children living in informal tented settlements in Lebanon: A cross-sectional study.

​A study led by Dr. Rima R. Habib, Professor and Chair in the Department of Environmental Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences, assessed the relationship between social capital and health among a population of Syrian refugee working children living in informal tented settlements in Lebanon. The study included a sample of 4,090 Syrian refugee children (8-18 years) living in 1902 households in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.

The findings showed that in spite of the poor living and working conditions that Syrian refugee children encounter, more than 50% were optimistic and 60% were satisfied with life. The main finding was that indicators of social capital and social cohesion were significantly associated with children's health. Children who had higher levels of social support and cohesion were significantly less likely to report a health problem and rate their health as poor; they were also at higher odds to be more optimistic and satisfied with life. Children with lower levels of social cohesion (e.g. did not spend time with friends), reported poor self-rated health, had a physical health problem and felt more lonely.

Given the protracted nature of the Syrian war, many refugees are still living in camps in different host countries across the world. This research has implications on policies and planning targeting refugee health and well-being especially for the most vulnerable refugee groups, children.

To read the full study, please ckick here.​

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