Resilience is a key competence of the twenty-first century which contributes to the success in school and in life. Especially unaccompanied migrant youth can benefit from learning this life skill, as they deal not only with the challenging transition to adulthood but also with the asylum procedure and their uncertain future.

Throughout the different waves of research on resilience, the focus has shifted away from risk factors to identifying strengths of the individual as exemplified in both positive computing and positive psychology areas. Following this approach, this research project focuses on resilience as internal factors such as appropriate coping strategies, optimism, problem solving, self-regulation which protect individuals against adverse situations and can be promoted through prevention.

It has been shown that having strong resilience skills and self-regulation skills can prevent at-risk youth from becoming socially excluded (Artuch-Garde et al., 2017). In addition, interventions promoting resilience have a higher impact on people starting at a lower psychosocial base (Bolier et al., 2013) (Taylor et al., 2017). Thus, building and enhancing the life skill of being resilient and thereby decreasing the risk would have a high potential impact on the future of unaccompanied migrant youth.

This project addresses a number of key research questions motivated by initial literature research and the exchange with the first supervisor Geraldine Fitzpatrick from TU Wien and the second supervisor Türkan Akkaya-Kalayci from MedUni:

  • What are things the unaccompanied care for and what are the sable patterns (activities, relationships etc) as hooks for technology? — What are the key mechanisms behind evidence-based interventions promoting resilience?
  • What are the design possibilities reinterpreting the mechanisms of the interventions and fitting into the everyday life of unaccompanied migrant youths?
  • How do unaccompanied migrant youth use the designs for resilience interventions?

The research project is part of theTechnology-Enabled Mental Health for Young People (TEAM) programme which is ITN programme which is a 4-year Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions initiative.


Artuch-Garde, R., González-Torres, M. del C., de la Fuente, J., Vera, M. M., Fernández-Cabezas, M., & López-García, M. (2017). Relationship between Resilience and Self-regulation: A Study of Spanish Youth at Risk of Social Exclusion. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.

Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 119

Taylor, C. T., Lyubomirsky, S., & Stein, M. B. (2017). Upregulating the positive affect system in anxiety and depression: Outcomes of a positive activity intervention: Taylor et al. Depression and Anxiety, 34(3), 267–280.

Team: Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Petr Slovak, Fares Kayali, Franziska Tachtler

Partners: Medical University of Vienna, Anna Freud Centre in London

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