Acculturative Stress, Coping, and Approaches to Working with Refugee Immigrants in the United States

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Uzabakiriho, Adiel
Immigrants; Refugees; Refugee Experience; Culture Shock; Acculturative Stress; Social Policy; Refugees -- United States; Delivery of Health Care -- United States; Assimilation (sociology); Immigrants -- United States; Culture Shock; Intercultural Communication
thesis / dissertation description
Every year, due to environmental, political or social reasons, a large number of people worldwide are forced to leave their homes and many become refugees. Based on the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol, some of those who fall into the legal definition of refugees get the chance to be resettled in the United States. During the course of migration, refugees encounter various experiences which contribute to adjustment outcomes in the United States. One of the significant factors involves acculturation and related stress identified as acculturative stress. This exploratory study identified and examined psychosocial factors which contribute to acculturative stress across different groups of refugee immigrants in the United States. Eighteen interviews conducted with participants from five groups of refugee immigrants at various geographical locations in the United States were transcribed and analyzed using a constant comparative method. Demographic characteristics of refugees and the type of acculturative stressor experienced were found to contribute to the type of coping mechanisms used. Psychosocial interventions which are built on cultural sensitivity and empowerment were identified as effective policies towards refugee services in the United States.