Concepts and criteria of internally displaced persons’ adaptation and integration and terms of idp status withdrawal


The exact meanings of the notions “IDP adaptation” and “IDP integration” despite their active use in academic and practically-oriented literature and state regulations still remain uncertain. The article aims to clarify the content of the notions of “adaptation” and “integration” of IDPs, doing it both in theoretical and empirical dimensions.

The article also examines another practical issue closely associated with a public policy – what terms should be used in decision to withdraw the IDPs status. The academic periodicals and UNHCR manuals were the most important source for the study. The analysis of the sources demonstrated that different scientific disciplines, depending on the focus of their research interests, put different aspects in the center of study of IDP adaptation and integration. However, there can be identified two theoretical and methodological approaches that cross disciplinary boundaries of the certain social sciences.

We offer to call these approaches as socio-cultural and resource (-oriented). As a part of the socio-cultural approach IDP adaptation is seen as an overcoming of the shock of cultural environment change and the process by which displaced person is used to a different culture, including the construction of the mode of the coexistence of IDP’s identity with the identities of other groups. According to the resource(-oriented) approach, adaptation is seen as the process by which information about the existence, accessibility and ways of getting relevant resources needed in the new place of residence is obtained. Within the socio-cultural approach IDP integration is interpreted as a convergence of IDPs’ and host communities identities, and within the resource (-oriented) approach it is seen as an establishment of IDPs and host communities resource sharing.

The resource(-oriented) approach seems to be more relevant to the current situation in Ukraine. The differences in the volume of resources between the IDPs differentiate the majority of IDPs more significantly than culture and identity do

  1. Berkman, L.F. et al. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science & Medicine, 51, 843-857.

  2. Libanova E.M., Gorbulin V.P., Pyrozhkov S.I. et al (2015). Ukrainian society integration policy in the context of the challenges and threats of the events in the Donbas region (national report). Kyiv: NAS of Ukraine [in Ukrainian].

  3. Blynova, O.Ye. (2016). Socio-psychological principles of forced migrants adaptation. Aktualni problemy psykholohii – Actual issues of psychology, IX (9), 58-66 [in Ukrainian].

  4. Cheong, P.H. et al. (2007). Immigration, social cohesion and social capital: A critical review. Critical Social Policy, 27 (1), 24-49.

  5. Ryan, D. et al. (2008). Theoretical Perspectives on Post-Migration Adaptation and Psychological Well-Being among Refugees: Towards a Resource-Based Model. Journal of Refugee Studies, 21 (1), 1-18.

  6. Harrell-Bond, B. (1986). Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees. New York: Oxford University Press.

  7. Colson, E. (2011). Imposing Aid: The Ethnography of Displacement and its Aftermath. Kroeber Anthropological Society, 100 (1): 154-167. URL:

  8. Vrecer, N. (2010). Living in Limbo: Integration of Forced Migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia. Journal of Refugee Studies, 23 (4), 484-502.

  9. Bernard, W.S. (1967). The Integration of Immigrants in the United States. International Migration Review, 1 (2), 23-33.

  10. Stubbs, P. (1995). Creative Negotiations: Concepts and Practice of Integration of Refugees, Displaced People and Local Communities in Croatia. Paper presented to International Conference ‘War, Exile and Everyday Life’ (Zagreb, March 30 – April 2, 1995). Zagreb: Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research.

  11. Aeger, A., Strang, A. (2008). Understanding Integration: A Conceptual Framework. Journal of Refugee Studies, 21 (2), 166-191.

  12. When Displacement Ends: A Framework for Durable Solutions. The Brookings Institution – University of Bern. URL:

  13. Forced Migration Review. (2003, May 17). (Special Issue ‘When does internal displacement end?’). URL:

Full text