Silvia Büchi: Staying healthy in migration
PhD-project, Swiss TPH, University of Basel (2005-)
This PhD project aims at a better understanding of health and health promotion in the context of international migration. Inspired by Antonovsky’s salutogenic approach,the project asks what helps migrants to stay healthy in migration.
Research on migration and health is predominantly disease and illness oriented. In the last twenty years, a growing number of epidemiological as well as social science studies describing risk factors and health problems have been published. Few researchers studied health and wellbeing of migrant people, despite a growing demand for changing research perspectives since the 1992 WHO-Conference "Migration and Health".
The PhD project contributes to this emerging field by providing insights from a qualitative research study on migrant’s experiences of health in Switzerland and looking at health promotion in the context of transnational migration.
A participatory qualitative research study has been carried out to investigate how migrants from Africa living in Switzerland define health and what they are doing to stay healthy. A mixed African-Swiss research team explored health concepts and daily activities of resilient African women and men living in Zurich and Basel through in-depth interviews and participant observation. Based on these case studies, research instruments for a participatory rapid assessment were developed and tested in group discussions.
The study is situated in the tradition of a small strand of research that is inspired by Antonovsky’s salutogenic approach, but uses a qualitative methodology to develop the categories of health, well-being and resources from the point of view of the people themselves. It expands the original approach of Antonovsky by considering the subjective and social construction of health. The research project had been carried out in the context of a research program of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (Strategy Migration and Health 2002-2007).
Currently, actual trends in Swiss health promotion in the context of transnational migration are investigated.
Knowing more about migrant’s experiences of health and resources mobilised in daily activities helps to understand migrant’s needs as well as potentials for maintaining health in the situation of migration. These insigths as well as an understanding of actual debates and trends in Swiss health promotion migth contribute the developement of adequate future health promotion and prevention policies and activities in the context of transnational migration.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Brigit Obrist, Prof. Dr. Marcel Tanner
Funding: 2004 – 2006 from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Strategy Migration and Health 2002-2007; private funds
Silvia Büchi und Brigit Obrist van Eeuwijk. 2006. Gesundsein in der Migration. In: Forschung Migration und Gesundheit. Im Rahmen der Bundesstrategie „Migration und Gesundheit 2002 – 2007“. Bern: Bundesamt für Gesundheit
Brigit Obrist und Silvia Büchi. 2008. Stress as an idiom for resilience: health and migration among Sub-Saharan Africans in Switzerland, in: Anthropology & Medicine, 15:3, 251-261.
Silvia Büchi. 2008. Religion, eine Gesundheitsressource in der Migration? In: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte 102 (2008), 261-286.
Silvia Büchi und Martina Koch. (2013, in press). Stress mit der Gesundheit. Gesundsein in der Migration zwischen zwischen gesellschaftlich verlangter und verunmöglichter Gesundheit. In: Passagen (Hrsg.) Vielfältig alltäglich: Migration und Geschlecht in der Schweiz. Zürich: Seismo
Brigit Obrist und Silvia Büchi. 2006. Gesundsein in der Migration. Forschungs-Schlussbericht zuhanden des Bundesamtes für Gesundheit. Projekt 03.001545/2.24.02-232.
Key words: migration, health, resilience, salutogenesis, protective factors, health promotion, health concepts, Switzerland