Health-seeking behaviours of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Europe: a systematic review of peer-reviewed articles

Hamed Ahmadinia*, Kristina Eriksson-Backa, Shahrokh Nikou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees living in Europe face a number of challenges in accessing or using health information and healthcare services available in their host countries. To resolve these issues and deliver the necessary services, providers must take a comprehensive approach to better understand the types of health information and healthcare services that these individuals need, seek and use. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to develop that comprehensive approach. Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed publications was performed, with 3.013 articles collected from various databases. A total of 57 qualifying papers on studies conducted in Europe were included in the review after applying the predefined inclusion and exclusion requirements, screening processes and eliminating duplicates. The information seeking and communication model (ISCM) was used in the analysis. Findings: The findings revealed that while many health information and healthcare services are accessible in Europe for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, many of these individuals are unaware of their existence or how to access them. While our findings do not specify what health-related information these groups need, use or seek, they do suggest the importance and value of providing mental health, sexual health and HIV, as well as pregnancy and childbirth information and services. Furthermore, according to our results, health information services should be fact-based, easy to understand and raise awareness about healthcare structure and services available in Europe for this vulnerable population. Practical implications: This study has a range of practical implications, including (1) highlighting the need for mental health and behavioural health services and (2) stressing the value of addressing cultural context and religious values while investigating (health) information seeking of people with foreign background. Originality/value: This is one of the first studies to systematically review and examine the behaviour of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees in relation to health information and healthcare services in the European context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-41
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Asylum seekers
  • Europe
  • Health information
  • Health-seeking behaviour
  • Healthcare services
  • Immigrants
  • Refugees
  • Systematic review


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