Ethical research in refugee communities and the use of community participatory methods

Transcult Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;44(3):459-81. doi: 10.1177/1363461507081642.


This article describes the distinct challenges associated with conducting ethical research with refugees. A case example of an ongoing study of stigma and access to mental health treatment among Somali refugee adolescents resettled in the USA is presented. In developing the study, standard research paradigms were critically examined in order to take account of the unique aspects of Somali culture and experience. Community participatory methods were adopted to uphold both ethical and methodological rigor in the research. A participatory approach for developing ethical protocols within different refugee communities is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Ethics*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Refugees*
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • United States