This study delves into the psychological well-being and basic psychological need fulfillment of Ukrainian refugee adolescents in the German schooling system during the 2022/2023 school year, following their displacement due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. Empirical studies indicate that forced migration disrupts children’s lives, making them more vulnerable to mental distress. Unlike previous refugee groups, these Ukrainian refugees have a distinct experience, as they are able to attend German schools without significant delay and often continue their Ukrainian schooling remotely, a situation we refer to as “double schooling.” Drawing on Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the research examines the impact of dual schooling on autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and their significance for positive development and well-being. The study involved 20 in-depth interviews with adolescents aged 12–16, exploring the unique double schooling context faced by Ukrainian refugees in Germany. An extensive analysis employing Johnny Saldaña’s methods identified several challenges and opportunities within each schooling type and their combined impact. Key challenges of the German schooling include language barriers and organizational difficulties, affecting autonomy and competence. The Ukrainian schooling system offers support, fostering relatedness and cultural identity preservation. However, challenges such as remote learning difficulties, exacerbated by challenging living conditions and lack of support, significantly affect the adolescents’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs. These findings underscore the complex implications for the educational and psychological well-being of Ukrainian refugee adolescents. Acknowledging these multifaceted obstacles can inform policies promoting well-being and academic success. Recognizing the value of the Ukrainian school for cultural identity preservation enhances well-being and belonging among migrant populations. The study also suggests future research directions to further explore supplementary factors and formulate strategies aimed at enhancing the schooling experiences and overall well-being of Ukrainian adolescent refugees and consider its implications for similar migrant populations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2024.107582
ISSN: 01907409