The role of religion in protecting older Romanian migrants from loneliness

R.O. Ciobanu, T. Fokkema

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This article explores qualitatively how and to what extent religion protects older Romanian migrants from loneliness. The analysis is based on fieldwork research in two Swiss cantons and in neighbouring France among 30 Romanian migrants aged 57+. The sample is heterogeneous, made up of persons who fled the communist regime in their youth and others who migrated later in life for work or to be with their families. The fieldwork research points towards a population that is coping successfully with migration and other challenges, many of whom did not report feelings of loneliness. In an increasingly laic occidental world, many of the Romanian participants in our research appear to be religious and go to church; this often protects them from loneliness, whether they migrated 30 years or 7 months ago. The article concludes with study limitations, implications and directions for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-217
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number2
Early online date12 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • older migrants
  • loneliness
  • social networks
  • coping strategies
  • religion
  • SSCI


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