Hellenic Journal of Psychology 
 Psychological Society of Northern Greece


ÉSSN 1790-1391

Edited three times a year by the Psychological Society of Northern Greece (PSNG)
Volume 7, Issue 1, 2010

Legally responsible:
George Grouios, President of the Psychological Society of Northern Greece
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece. Phone: +30-2310-992177; E-mail: ggrouios@phed.auth.gr

Editor-in-Chief:  Anastasia Efklides Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Associate Editors: Maria Dikaiou
Angeliki Leondari
Georgios D. Sideridis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece
Assistant Editors: Irini Dermitzaki
Mary H. Kosmidis
Filippos Vlachos
Plousia Misailidi
Pagona Roussi
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
University of Ioannina, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Guest Editors of the Special Issue Maria Dikaiou &
Eleni Hatzidimitriadou
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece & St. George’s University of London/Kingston University, United Kingdom

Editorial Board

Anastasia Efklides
George Grouios
Shulamith Kreitler
Diomedes Markoulis
Robert Neimeyer
Markku Niemivirta
Jose M. Prieto
Wolfgang Schnotz 
Yannis Theodorakis
Maria Tzouriadou
Marja Vauras
Marcel Veenman
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Memphis, USA
University of Helsinki, Finland
Complutense University, Madrid, Spain
University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Turku, Finland
University of Leiden, The Netherlands

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© Copyright 2010: Psychological Society of Northern Greece (PSNG)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) for commercial purposes without the written permission of the copyright owners. Manuscripts submitted to the journal in no case are returned back

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2010    

Founded 2004



Guest Editors:
Maria Dikaiou & Eleni Hatzidimitriadou











Maria Dikaiou & Eleni Hatzidimitriadou ..........................................................................V

Migration and ageing: Settlement experiences and emerging care needs
of older refugees in developed countries
           Eleni Hatzidimitriadou.................................................................................................1

Migrants, refugees and mental health care in Europe
          Charles Watters……….……….........................................................................................21

Social integration of refugees and asylum applicants in Greece
         Maria Kiagia, Maria Kriona, & Eugenie Georgaca..…....………................................................38

Exploring highly-educated refugees’ subjective theories of
their psychosocial experiences
         Maria Psoinos .………..…………………....……………….……….........................................................69

Greek teachers’ cross-cultural awareness and their views on
classroom cultural diversity

        Despina Sakka..………..…………………....……….............……......................................…...........98


Hellenic Journal of Psychology, Vol. 7 (2010), pp. vii-xi



Maria Dikaiou & Eleni Hatzidimitriadou
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece & St. George’s University of London/Kingston University, UK


This special issue, entitled Forced migration and social care, is concerned with the provision of social care for migrants and refugees in European countries. Social care in this context covers a wide area of concerns ranging from health care provisions to social support systems and factors influencing the promotion of human well being in contemporary societies. Despite the different theoretical approaches in the way social care is defined and materialized in different countries, economic and sociopolitical systems, today there is growing consensus among social scientists as to the urgent need for providing migrants with effective services.
      Exploring the need for effective services to migrants has become an issue of vital importance for most countries today, given the ever growing number of migrants and refugees all over the world. This is mostly relevant for traditional immigration countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States of America where there is already a debate about the social care of migrants. Nonetheless this increase is also affecting the European continent. Statistics indicate that, while Europe received 14% of the total number of forced migrants in 2007 (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2008), the international immigration rise has reached 9% of the total population in Southern Europe – an area with inherent welfare deficits − thus creating an amalgam of new demands on the existing social care systems, originally built to respond to the needs of the majority indigenous populations (United Nations, 2006; UNHCR, 2006). In fact, it is true that, for most countries in Central and Southern Europe, the issue of migrant social care provision is only beginning to be addressed (Ingleby, 2005).
      It is not only the statistical representation of migrants in the host country population that is of relevance to this discussion. More significantly, the pragmatics of social care, especially the promotion of health and social well-being, and its human rights dimensions are important issues in this context. The host society has a vested interest in maintaining the standards of health and social well being of these populations as migrants and refugees in poor health are also facing severe difficulty to integrate into mainstream society. In addition, health and social well-being are fundamental human rights that governments have a duty to ensure in order to maintain appropriate living conditions for all their residents. As Ingleby (2005) points out, inappropriate, ineffective services to the needs of certain groups, are denying them full citizenship in society.
      According to relevant research, additional factors that determine health and social care service responses to the needs of these groups are migrants’ sociopolitical position and their degree of influence on political decisions, racist and discriminatory attitudes towards migration, diversity in the host countries, as well as official policies that regulate migrants’ and refugees’ lives (Miller & Rasco, 2004). Besides underscoring the statistical, pragmatic and sociopolitical importance of migrants, the present special issue is organized with the purpose of pointing out the multidimensionality of the issues involved in exploring their needs with reference to health and social care provisions; the importance of bringing together research, theory and practice with the purpose of formulating proposals for effective social care provision policies, is also highlighted.
      Focusing on a European context, the articles of the special issue present theoretical and methodological perspectives adopted in exploring the needs of migrants (mostly economic) and refugees living in a widely different range of situations: elderly and mental health patients in Europe, ethnically diverse refugees and asylum seekers/applicants in Greece, and highly educated refugees in Britain. Finally, an exploration of the needs of professionals involved in welfare service provision, that is, teachers working with migrant children in culturally diverse schools in Greece, is also presented.
      Despite the fact that articles in the present special issue explore the situation of different migrant groups living in different European countries, they share some commonalities. They all acknowledge the need for a shift in the epistemological paradigm for analyzing migrants’ needs and problems. Contrary to traditional approaches, they point out to the need for psychologists, and social scientists in general, to rethink the assumptions and epistemological framework of a “pathology-oriented” model. The call to challenge the pathology model and engage instead in activities promoting social care provision for migrants and refugees is highly relevant to research and improvement of existing policy-making and practice. In particular, the five articles either review or present research evidence informing the way health and social care services are designed and implemented. In this context, the first two articles focus exclusively on the relations of migrants with social care and emphasize the social psychological phenomena, which are involved and characterize the above relationship. When focusing on two specific migrant and refugee groups, the elderly and mental health service users, the main question is about the needs of these groups and the way society (i.e., legal and social policy systems, social care organizations, researchers, and the public) respond to these needs. The purpose here is not to simply state problems faced by these groups, most of which have already been discussed in the extant literature, but to identify the dynamics underlying the problem-response relationships.
      Most specifically, the first article by Hatzidimitriadou offers an overview of the older refugees’ experiences and needs in the receiving countries. The author explores the relation between research and policy directed to this group of forced migrants by examining a number of definitional, conceptual and practice challenges. Drawing on both psychological and gerontological research, she points out to the need for developing new theoretical frameworks which will allow for a better understanding of the dynamics of migration in later life and the introduction of strategies for successful integration.
      In the same line, the second article by Watters is concerned with the provision of mental health services for migrants and refugees in Europe. The author asks critical questions about the type of research involved and its relevance to social care practice. He identifies the main characteristics of the way most services respond to migrant and refugee needs and puts forward recommendations for more effective and culturally appropriate social care policies and practices.
      The next two research articles are referring to the specific situation of refugees in Greece and Britain. The first article by Kiagia, Kriona, and Georgaka, gives a picture of the typical refugee situation and asylum seeking process in Thessaloniki, a Greek city, by presenting findings from semi-structured interviews with refugees and asylum applicants of different nationalities. Following the principles of critical and community psychology and drawing parallels with other countries, this article explores refugees’ own perceptions of their living conditions and needs as well as their views on their treatment by the Greek state and society.
      Psoinos, on the other hand, is focussed on the situation of highly educated refugee groups in the United Kingdom. She reviews existing debates in the area of migration and psychological health care and explores how highly educated refugees in the UK can inform these debates by eliciting their problems and needs in their own terms. By analyzing semi-structured interviews, she explores the meanings refugees attach to their post-migration psychosocial experiences and considers whether these views are aligned with experts’ conceptualizations of refugees’ problems. She also puts forward suggestions about interventions for improving refugees’ health by acknowledging all its richness and diversity.
      The last article by Sakka deals with another sector of social care provision, namely intercultural education in Greece. As with health care the teaching in multicultural classrooms has become a key issue in scientific and public discourse given the increasing numbers of migrant students in Greek schools and the demand for teachers to respond to the needs of these students. Using quantitative data from elementary and secondary education teachers, the study explores their cross-cultural awareness and views on cultural diversity. Findings concerning the contradictory and conflicting character of teachers’ attitudes towards cultural diversity are discussed within the context of designing and implementing new teacher training programs. The author suggests that such programmes should incorporate not only strategies for teaching new curricula but also teachers’ training needs as they are shaped by today’s multicultural classroom.
      Overall, the contributors of this special issue conclude that existing social care service provisions, which were developed to meet the needs of the host country’s indigenous populations, are most likely to fail meeting the needs of migrant and refugee populations. A range of structural and attitudinal factors are responsible for these shortcomings: professionals’ lack of insight into the needs of migrants and refugees, inaccessibility to services due to language barriers and cultural differences, lack of culturally sensitive and appropriate social care systems, lack of understanding and knowledge of migration and post-migration stresses, reluctance of service providers and professionals to develop effective responses due to financial and training implications, and wider xenophobic and discriminatory attitudes shaping social care provision and public attitudes alike. A meaningful shift in policy and practice of social care for migrants and refugees would only be realized in the context of a more intercultural and holistic service delivery approach of social care for all residents in migrant-receiving countries.
      There are several colleagues we would like to thank for making this special issue possible. First, we would like to thank Professor Anastasia Efklides, Editor-in-Chief of the Hellenic Journal of Psychology, for her invitation to us to guest edit this special issue. We would also like to express our gratitude to the authors of the articles for their contributions. Finally, we are indebted to the anonymous reviewers of these articles for their valuable feedback.



                  Ingleby, D. (2005). Editor’s introduction. In D. Ingleby (Ed.), Forced migration and mental health: Rethinking the care of refugees and displaced persons (pp. 1-28). New York: Springer.
      Miller, K. E., & Rasco, L. M. (2004). An ecological framework for addressing the mental health needs of refu-gee communities. In K. E. Miller & L. M. Rasco (Eds.), The mental health of refugees: Ecological approaches to healing and adaptation (pp. 1-68). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
      United Nations. (2006). International migration and development: Report of the Secretary-General. New York: United Nations.
      United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2006). 2005 global refugee trends. Geneva, Switzerland: UNHCR.
      United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2008). 2007 global trends: Refugees, asylum-seekers, re-turnees, internally displaced and stateless persons. Geneva, Switzerland: UNHCR.


Address: Maria Dikaiou, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece. E-mail: mdikaiou@psy.auth.gr
Address: Eleni Hatzidimitriadou, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, St George’s University of Lon-don/Kingston University, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 7LB, United Kingdom. E-mail: e.hatzidimitriadou@hscs.sgul.ac.uk