Role of Family in Refugee Adjustment: Experiences of Hmong, Somali, and Syrian Refugees in the USA

Zha Blong Xiong, Malina Her, Mari Kira, Andrea Jane Belgrade, Marie Aiudi Pattipati, Gaozer N. Xiong, Harrison Miller, Fiona Lee

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Compared to other immigrants, refugees often face unique challenges and higher levels of trauma due to their abrupt migration. When resettling in a new country, refugees may continue to face trauma, including race-based trauma, which impacts their overall well-being and adjustment. Despite the vast literature on trauma and refugees, few studies have examined the positive role of family in refugee adjustment. Using a qualitative approach, the current study explores the role of family and support from family members in refugee adjustment. Forty participants across three refugee groups (Hmong, Syrian, and Somali) were interviewed in their language of choice. Using thematic analysis, we found four overarching themes: family social support, sense of belonging in the family, family centrality, and ethnic community as an extension of the family and a source of strength. Across the three groups, various forms of support from family members were cited as playing a prominent role in their adjustment. We found how important it was for participants to feel like they belong in their community; those who lacked biological family members sought support and connections in their wider ethnic community (e.g., neighborhoods). Our findings also suggest families playing a key role as many discussed how their lives and daily routines revolved around their families. We propose that future research should focus on examining the role of family as a resource, in refugee adjustment, and include perspectives from several family members.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalAdversity and Resilience Science
StatePublished - Aug 31 2021

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