Somali parenting in Western contexts: Acculturative stressors and family strengths

Johara Suleiman, Wendy Haight, Sookyoung Park, Shelby K Wren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This scoping review describes the available research on the experiences of Somali immigrant parents acculturating within Western countries including the U.S., Canada, South Africa, England, and Scandinavia. A total of 19 studies were identified that focused on Somali immigrant families, discussed parenting, and were written in English. Ten were published in peer-reviewed journals including in social work, mental health, and nursing. The other studies were reported in a book chapter and eight graduate-level theses. The studies were qualitative, and identified several themes related to parental strengths and stressors as they acculturated to Western countries. Stressors included conflicts between Western and Islamic values within racist contexts, shifting from communal to nuclear family parenting, and changes in family dynamics. Strengths included strong ties to spirituality, a deep commitment to family, and a strong love of and pride in their cultural identity. Implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQualitative Social Work
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Abdi Mohamud Suleiman provided peer consultation and knowledge contributions for the introduction section. Dr. Saida Abdi provided peer consultation and guidance during the initial stages of project design. Scott Marsalis provided guidance during the initial stages of project design. Gamble-Skogmo Foundation provided financial support for the project.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • acculturation
  • child welfare
  • Immigration
  • parents
  • Somalia
  • Western countries


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