04:45am Thursday 24 October 2019

Nearly one quarter of Arab immigrants suffer the Immigrant Syndrome with chronic and multiple stress

It is characterised by chronic and multiple stress produced by forced family break-ups, loneliness, radical social exclusion, fear and defencelessness. The author of the thesis is Mozdalifa Elkheir, lecturer at the University of Khartoum (Sudan) and the University of Barcelona, where she participates in the postgraduate programme in Mental Health and Psychological Intervention with Immigrants, Refugees and Minorities offered at the Faculty of Psychology.

Elkheir has developed her study with a sample composed by three-hundred immigrants from Arabic countries who live in Catalonia. The thesis proves that, in the case of Arab immigration, there are additional problems related to xenophobia, racism and increasing islamophobia.

Elkheir’s thesis, entitled Síndrome d’Ulisses, aculturació i personalitat en una població d’immigrants àrabs, was supervised by UB lecturers Maria Jayme and Joseba Achotegui. In fact, Achotegui was the first person who used the word Ulysses Syndrome to describe the common effects that affect immigrant people. The name comes from The Odyssey, the poem that describes Ulysses’ long journey through the Mediterranean in his search for Ithaca.

Achotegui emphasizes that research studies “must be made in immigrants’ native language and it is necessary to understand their cultural characteristics”. He says that “the collaboration between the University of Khartoum and the University of Barcelona is a model to be considered in order to strengthen cooperation in interculturality, rapprochement of cultures and shared sensitivity towards immigrants’ sufferings and the extreme situations they usually experience”.

Universitat de Barcelona

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