«The ongoing wars around the world have led to an ever increasing exodus of refugee populations for resettlement in developed countries, including the ...»
KITEKI, BELLAH NANJEKHO, Ph.D. Acculturation and Psychosocial Adjustment of
African Adolescent Refugees in the United States: The Role of Social Support. (2011)
Directed by L. DiAnne Borders. 214 pp.
The ongoing wars around the world have led to an ever increasing exodus of refugee
populations for resettlement in developed countries, including the U.S. Importantly, it has
been estimated that the bulk of these refugees in resettlement countries are comprised of
children and adolescents under the age of 18 (Halcon et al., 2004; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, 2007). Previous research (e.g., Ellis, Macdonald, Lincoln, & Cabral, 2008; Layne et al., 2001; Smith, Perrin, Yule, Hacam, & Stuvland,
2002) mainly has focused on past traumatic experiences, diagnoses, and treatment modalities. An important link between acculturation, social support, and adolescent refugees‟ adjustment within new environments has been established (e.g., Kovacev & Shute, 2004). These aspects have not been examined, however, with African adolescent refugees in the U.S.
Using a sample of African adolescent refugees (N = 70) in a mid-sized city in the Southeast, this study examined acculturation, social support, and psychosocial adjustment among African adolescent refugees from different African countries resettled in the U.S.
Results indicated a strong relationship between social support and psychosocial adjustment. Both peer and parental support were central in the adjustment of adolescents.
Furthermore, exploratory analyses showed there were main effects for time lived in the U.S. Results showed that, overall, for both boys and girls, time spent in the U.S. was associated with higher scores.
ACCULTURATION AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ADJUSTMENT OF
AFRICAN ADOLESCENT REFUGEES IN THE UNITED STATES:
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL SUPPORTby Bellah Nanjekho Kiteki A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Greensboro 2011 Approved by __________________________________
Committee Chair © 2011 Bellah Nanjekho Kiteki
APPROVAL PAGEThis dissertation has been approved by the following committee of the Faculty of The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Committee Chair _____________________________________
L. DiAnne Borders Committee Members _____________________________________
Sharon Morrison _____________________________________
First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my dissertation committee chair Dr. DiAnne Borders for her continued support and challenge that helped me to grow as a teacher and supervisor and come this far. Many thanks to my dissertation committee members: Dr. Sharon Morrison, Dr. Jose Villalba, and Dr. John Willse for their input and suggestions during my journey as a doctoral student. Also I thank the entire CED faculty members led by the Department chair Dr. John Young for stepping in to ensure that my course of study was not affected at the lowest moment of my life late 2009. Also my sincere thanks to Dr. Rebecca Saunders (Rtd), Assistant Dean of the Graduate School for her continued support for my graduate studies.
Many thanks to my cohort members: Ali W; Alli F; Amber, Elizabeth, Gulsah, Metoka, Laura, Holly, and Katie for being in this together. Specifically, I would like to thank Gulsah Kemer, my peer as an international student within the cohort. To all my true and sincere friends, I am forever grateful for your support and friendship. Most importantly, I thank God for his strength through my studies. Last but not least, I sincerely thank my parents for the sacrifices made in life without which I wouldn‟t be where I am.
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION
Overview of Related Literature
Purpose of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Need for Study
Definition of Terms
Overview of Chapters
II. REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
Refugees in the Resettlement
African Refugees in Resettlement
Adolescent Refugees in Resettlement
African Adolescent Refugees
Adolescent Developmental Tasks
The Concept of Ubuntugogy within African Context
African Child Rearing Practices, Values, and Beliefs..................54 Impact of Migration on African Adolescent Refugees..................57 Psychosocial Adjustment of Refugees
The Multicultural Acculturation Model
Social Support and Adolescent Adjustment
Social Support and Adolescent Refugees
Social Support and African Refugees
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Acculturation Attitudes Questionnaire (AAQ, Berry et al., 2006)
Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPPA, Harter, 1988)
Social Support Scale for Children (SSSC, Harter, 1985)
Results of Pilot Study
Revisions Based on Pilot Study
Description of Participants
Descriptive Results of Measures
Reliability Analyses of Instruments
Research Question One
Research Question Two
Research Question Three
Research Question Four
Research Question Five
Summary of the Results of the Study
Interpretation of Results
Suggestions for Future Research
Implications for Counselors and Practitioners
Table 1. Demographic Descriptors for Pilot Study (N=12)
Table 2. Means and Standard Deviations of Measures for Pilot Study (N=12)
Table 3. Reliability Coefficients of Measures for Pilot Study
Table 4. Pearson Product-Moment Correlations of Measures for Pilot Study (N=12)
Table 5. Demographic Descriptors of Participants for Main Study (N=70)
Table 6. Participant Demographic Descriptors (continued)
Table 7. Range of Scores, Means, and Standard Deviations of Measures (N=70)
Table 8. Range of Scores, Means, and Standard Deviations by Age (N=70)
Table 9. Range of Scores, Means, and Standard Deviations by Gender (N=70)
Table 10. Range of Scores, Means, and Standard Deviations by Region/Country of Origin
Table 11. Range of Scores, Means, and Standard Deviations by Duration of Stay in the U.
Table 12. Reliability Alpha Coefficients of Instruments
Table 13. Pearson Product-Moment Correlation of Instruments (N=70)
Table 14. Comparison of Correlations between Social Support and Psychosocial Adjustment
Table 15. Comparison of Correlations between Acculturation Attitudes and Psychosocial Adjustment
vii Table 16. Comparison of Correlations among Acculturation Attitudes and Social Support
Table 17. Disattenuated Correlations of Measures (N=70)
Table 18. Multiple Regression Analysis of Acculturation Attitudes and Psychosocial Adjustment
Table 19. Multiple Regression Analysis of Social Support and Psychosocial Adjustment
Table 20. Factoral ANOVA Results for Duration of Stay in the U.
and Gender (N=70)
Figure 1. Kovacev and Shute‟s (2004) Conceptual Model of Adolescent Pyschosocial Adjustment
Figure 2. Kovacev and Shute‟s (2004) Conceptual Model of Adolescent Pyschosocial Adjustment
Figure 3. Type of Friends and Duration of Stay in the U.
Figure 4. Burundi
Figure 5. DRC
Figure 6. Rwanda
Figure 7. Somali
Figure 8. Sudan
There has been an increase in political instabilities and unrest around the world, culminating in conflicts and wars, particularly in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. These instabilities have led to inter-tribal clashes and cleansings and general suffering of the civilian population (Bemak, Chung, & Pedersen, 2003). The causes of instability have ranged from challenging the political status quo, socioeconomic inequalities between and /or amongst members of different communities, or general greed amongst those in power. In the bid to either create a balance or change the existing political statuses, many countries have been plunged into wars. The wars have had a farreaching impact, including destruction of the existing social amenities and infrastructure, death of many civilians, and, the displacement of civilians from their homelands within and beyond the borders of their countries. Although the majority of these civilians remain within their countries of origin and eventually flee to other neighboring countries (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, 2007), there also has been a mass exodus of refugees to other industrialized or developed nations. To this effect, by the end of 2008, the UNHCR (2008) estimated the number of people forcibly uprooted from their countries of origin by conflicts, persecutions, and wars worldwide at 42 million.
The UNHCR commonly has referred to civilians seeking refuge in other countries as
some conditions, internally displaced persons. The numbers of “persons of concern” in areas of resettlement, from Asia to North America, Europe, as well as Africa, has been on the rise during the last decade (UNHCR, 2007). Notably, since 2006, there has been an increase in the numbers of refugees under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2006). By the end of 2006, while the total population of “persons of concern” was estimated at 32.9 million persons, 9.9 million were refugees (UNHCR, 2006). These figures rose steadily to 11.4 million and 16 million refugees by the end of 2007 and 2008, respectively. According to the UNHCR, by the end of 2006 the highest source of origin of refugees was Asia, followed by Africa. Since the end of 2006 (e.g., UNHCR, 2007), there has been an increased surge of refugees seeking asylum from African countries; among the highest beneficiaries of UNHCR resettlement programs were persons from Somalia (5,200 refugees), Sudan (2,900 refugees), and Democratic Republic of Congo (2,000 refugees).
Importantly, the bulk of the refugee populations are children and adolescents (Halcon et al., 2004) who are considered an at-risk-group (Bemak et al., 2003). They are considered at-risk due to the adverse psychological impact caused by the disruption of their developmental processes in the course of wars and upheavals. Statistics indicate that many children and adolescents die, are disabled and maimed, orphaned, or separated from their caregivers as a result of war (United Nations Children‟s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, 1996). UNICEF (2005) reported an estimated 2 million children and
ranged between 4 to 5 million, 12 million had been made homeless, and 1 million had either been orphaned or separated from their parents.
Despite the difficulties encountered during wars, some children and adolescents manage to survive the atrocities (e.g., Amone P‟O-lak, 2007; Halcon et al., 2004) and are rescued by humanitarian agencies for resettlement in other countries. It has been found that children and adolescents under the age of 18 years old constitute approximately onehalf of the entire worldwide refugee population (UNHCR, 2003; 2004; 2006). Although age specific information across all refugee groups is either partial, scant, or unavailable, it has been estimated that out of the total number of persons of concern, 45% are under the age of 18 and 11% are under the age of five (UNHCR, 2006). In this category, there are a sizeable number of adolescent refugees from Africa in countries of resettlement.
Unfortunately, few studies on adjustment of adolescent refugees from Africa have been conducted.
Existing research on adolescents in resettlement has been carried out primarily with immigrant groups who have been resettled in European countries, with a focus on their acculturation strategies and adaptation (e.g., Birman & Taylor-Ritzler, 2007; Birman, Trickett, & Buchanan, 2005; Motii-Stefanidi, Pavlopoulos, Obradovic, & Masten, 2008;
Neto, 2002; Pfafferott & Brown, 2006; Sam, 1995; 2000). Even with studies on immigrant adolescents, a focus on African immigrants is still minimal. In some studies of
adolescents with adolescents from other cultural backgrounds (e.g., Liebkind & Jasinskaja-Lahti, 2000; Oppedal, Roysamb, & Heyerdal, 2005) or studied both African adolescents and adults together (e.g., Stevens, Pels, Vollebergh, & Crijnen, 2004).
In other studies (e.g., Rousseau et al., 2007; Rousseau et al., 2005), immigrants and refugees have been lumped into the same group. Only a few researchers have studied or reviewed the literature (e.g., Kia-Keating & Ellis, 2007; Kimberly, Ehntholt, Smith, & Yule, 2005; Lustig et al., 2004; Montegomery & Foldspang, 2007) focused on adolescent refugees. Although immigrants and refugees share the common aspect of being newcomers in new environments, their experiences prior to and during resettlement differ markedly. One of these differences is the forced circumstances of departure for refugees, whereas immigrants voluntarily leave with an option of returning to their home countries.
Thus, there is need to study refugees and immigrants separately. Importantly, a focus on African adolescent refugees may be helpful in understanding some of their critical needs during the stressful period of resettlement and adjustment to a new way of life in the host country.