Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 28 Issue 3 (May/June 2018), Pages 109-187

The role of shared social identity in mutual support among refugees of conflict: An ethnographic study of Syrian refugees in Jordan (pages 142-155)


In the midst of an unprecedented refugee crisis and the shortfall of aid organization resources, a shift toward utilizing the capacity for collective resilience in refugee communities could be helpful. This paper explores experiences of psychosocial social support among a community of Syrian urban refugees in Jordan, especially the kind of support that helps them deal with secondary stressors. We were specifically interested in the role of shared social identity as a basis of support and the sources of such shared identity. We conducted an 8‐month ethnography that included observations and semistructured interviews with 13 refugees. We found many examples of support among refugees, on both personal and collective levels. Some of this support was based on sharing the identity of “refugee” that stemmed from a sense of common fate. This is similar to the process identified in the literature on disasters. Psychological membership in the refugee group is stigmatic, but it can also lead to positive outcomes in line with the social cure perspective. However, we also found examples of support that were value‐based or based on pre‐existing interpersonal networks. Implications of the findings for models of group processes in stressful situations and the practical question of refugee support are discussed.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>