Three questions for ... Judith Kohlenberger


Dr. Judith Kohlenberger from the Institute for Social Policy (Vienna University of Economics and Business) and her colleagues examined the access to public health care and the psychosocial health of 515 Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees. The data of the nationwide cross-sectional survey "Refugee Health and Integration Survey (ReHIS)" are now available in our Dataverse.

What is your study about?

The Refugee Health and Integration Survey (ReHIS) deals with the psychosocial health and the access to health care of Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees who arrived in Austria since 2011. Using key indicators, the aim was to measure the interactions between economic, social and cultural integration on the one hand and (physical and mental) health on the other hand.

The collected data will serve as basis for optimising target group-specific access to public health facilities. We also wanted to raise awareness of mental and physical health care as key requirements for the successful integration of refugees.

How did your study come about?

As an interim survey, the ReHIS is part of the panel study FIMAS+INTEGRATION conducted by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). The study was carried out in the period from December 2017 to April 2018 with a sample size of more than 1,600 respondents. FIMAS+INTEGRATION addresses the labour market participation of refugees in Austria. The cooperation was initiated by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and the Institute for Personnel Policy at the Karl-Franzens-University, which organised a joint longitudinal survey sponsored by the OeNB Anniversary Fund. Since the survey's target group - recognised refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status – is considered difficult to access, it made sense to pool expertise and resources in order to interview as many refugees as possible in as representative a form as possible.

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of your study?

For the first time, the subjective well-being of the most recently arrived refugee population in Austria, their access to medical and therapeutic care and possible barriers to access, as well as the prevalence of anxiety disorders and depression within this population group were measured via clinical scales. The questionnaire applied is based on the German IAB-BAMF-SOEP refugee survey and the Austrian Health Interview Survey (ATHIS), which allows comparisons with the Austrian general population and the refugee population in Germany. In combination with the FIMAS+INTEGRATION longitudinal data on labour market integration, ReHIS allows a unique analysis of refugees' integration in key dimensions.





Judith Kohlenberger (Foto: Raimo Rudi Rumpler)