«The ongoing wars around the world have led to an ever increasing exodus of refugee populations for resettlement in developed countries, including the ...»
First, among social support and psychosocial adjustment measures, there were positive significant relationships between parental support and global self-worth; and between peer support and peer social acceptance. However, no relationships were found between parental and peer social acceptance, nor between peer support and global selfworth respectively. Second, no relationships were observed between acculturation
and acculturation attitudes indicated a significant relationship between peer support and integration but none with assimilation, marginalization, and separation. Similarly, parental support had no relationships with acculturation attitudes.
In the Multiple Regression model with parental support as the dependent variable, only global self-worth but not peer social acceptance was significant as a predictor variable. Similarly, the Multiple Regression model with peer support as the dependent variable showed peer social acceptance but not global self-worth as a significant predictor. Therefore, a Simple Regression was performed using the significant predictor variables. Results showed that global self-worth accounted for 14 percent (R2=.14) of the variability in parental support and peer social acceptance accounted for 12 percent (R2 =.12) of variability in peer support.
For the question on prediction of adjustment, social support, but not acculturation attitudes predicted psychosocial adjustment. The mediating model for this study (i.e., Multicultural Acculturation Model) was not tested because the key conditions for a mediating relationship were not met. That is, there were only partial significant relationships among acculturation attitudes, social support, and psychosocial adjustment.
Also, it is noteworthy that this was the first empirical study to use the Acculturation Attitudes Questionnaire with adolescent refugees in general. Finally, for the ancillary research question, for both boys and girls, duration of time spent in the U.S. yielded
It was hypothesized that there would be positive relationships among acculturation, social support, and psychosocial adjustment. Therefore the positive relationship between parental support and global self-worth were expected. This result suggested that parental support, including how positively parents regarded their children, was important in the way African adolescent refugees liked, were satisfied, and were generally happy with the way they were. The finding was consistent with findings from a previous study with adolescent refugees from former Republic of Yugoslavia (Kovacev & Shute 2004) in which researchers found a positive relationship among parental support and global selfworth.
In addition, results in the present study showed a positive relationship between peer support and peer social acceptance, as expected. The result suggested that adolescent refugees who felt supported by their peers had a positive view of themselves and regarded themselves as being popular, valuable, and of significance to their peers.
Eventually, these aspects made it possible for them to feel accepted, and therefore easily interact with other peers in their environments, which then positively enhanced their adjustment. This result supported findings from Kovacev and Shute‟s (2004) study in which they found that peer support (i.e., classmates and close friend) was positively correlated with peer social acceptance. In their conclusion, young people who perceived themselves to be supported by their peers also found themselves popular and easy to get
that, also for African adolescent refugees in resettlement, peers played an integral role in their adjustment process.
Results indicating a positive relationship between parental support and global selfworth may be consistent with the important role of parents in young people‟s lives with African backgrounds. This is because adolescent refugees in this study were from a collectivistic cultural background which has its emphasis in oneness and communal nature of each individual‟s existence (Bangura, 2005; Nafukho, 2006). Parents are considered key participants in their children‟s lives and they have specific roles that are guided by African beliefs and values. For adolescent refugees in resettlement who have been forcibly removed from their original countries, and in the absence of a strong community fabric for support, parental support in a foreign environment may become even more important.
As already stated, results of relationships between parental support and peer social acceptance, and between peer support and global self-worth showed no relationships.
First, the lack of a relationship between parental support and peer social acceptance showed that adolescent refugees‟ parents had a very minimal role or none at all in terms of adolescents‟ popularity within the new environment. The results were different from findings by Kovacev and Shute (2004) in which parental support had a relationship (although somewhat low) with peer social acceptance.
Second, failure of a relationship between peer support and global self-worth suggested that peer support was less important to adolescent refugees with regards to how
persons. In a previous study (Kovacev & Shute, 2004), peer support had one of the highest correlations with global self-worth. From their findings, Kovacev and Shute (2004) suggested that adolescent refugees who had close friends to rely on were likely to have a better self-perception and were more socially acceptable. This in turn positively impacted adolescents‟ adjustment outcomes in their new environment. For the present study, however, this was not so; therefore, it could be that for African adolescent refugees, as already stated, parents had a stronger influence on their self-perception as persons than their peers.
Findings of the relationships between acculturation attitudes and psychosocial adjustment indicated no relationships among the measures. First, the result suggested that acculturation attitudes had no relationship with global self-worth. These findings were different from previous findings by Kovacev and Shute (2004) who used a sample (n =
83) of adolescent refugees from former Republic of Yugoslavia. In their study, they only found a significant but low correlation between global self-worth and integration r(82) =.22, and a significant negative correlation with marginalization r(82) = -.39, but no correlations with assimilation and separation.
Second, the findings also indicated that no relationships were observed between peer social acceptance and acculturation attitudes. This also suggested that the manner of adapting within the new environment had no relationships with adolescent refugees‟ positive self-perceptions, popularity with their peers, and their significance. In a previous finding (Kovacev & Shute, 2004), peer social acceptance had a strong negative
correlations with integration and separation. These results (i.e., present and previous) may be due to a number of factors. Because participants in the two studies were from different backgrounds and resettled in different environments, differences in the manner of responses to study items may have been possible. Also, the duration they had lived in host countries may have contributed to differences in correlations. It may be that identifying with the original, host culture, or none at all were impacted by whether the adolescent was a new arrival, had lived in that country for a short period of time or longer period. In the study by Kovacev and Shute (2004), about a half of the participants (n =
41) were new arrivals who had lived in Australia for less than one year. The other participants had lived in Australia between one to seven years.
The second research question was to determine the best predictor of psychosocial adjustment among acculturation attitudes. It was hypothesized that integration would be the best predictor of psychosocial adjustment, followed by assimilation and separation, and marginalization would provide the worst adjustment outcomes. The results indicated that acculturation attitudes (i.e., integration, assimilation, marginalization, and separation) failed to significantly predict psychosocial adjustment (i.e., global self-worth and peer social acceptance).
The findings suggested that adolescent refugee changes in acculturation; including values, attitudes, or behaviors had no impact in terms of their overall adjustment. These results were inconsistent with previous studies with immigrant (e.g., Birman & TaylorRitzler, 2007; Motti-Stefanidi et al., 2008; Pfafferrot & Brown, 2006) and adolescent
best predicted adjustment within a new environment. In the present study, although integration was predominantly endorsed by participants, it was non-significant in relationship to adjustment and thus negligible for any meaningful interpretations.
The third research question was to examine the best predictor of psychosocial adjustment among social support measures. It was hypothesized that parental support would be the best predictor followed by peer support. This was supported in the results, parental support followed by peer support significantly predicted psychosocial adjustment. Results indicated that parental support significantly predicted global selfworth, and peer support significantly predicted peer social acceptance. However, parental support failed to predict peer social acceptance and peer support failed to predict global self-worth. These results also may have been due to the findings of partial significant relationships in the first research question.
In the first research question examining relationships among study measures, positive relationships were found among parental support and global self-worth, peer support and peer social acceptance. Similar findings of significant positive correlations among parental support and global self-worth, peer support and peer social acceptance were observed in the study by Kovacev and Shute (2004) with adolescent refugees from former Republic of Yugoslavia. Therefore, because of these relationships found in the present and previous study, the results showing parental support predicting global selfworth and peer support predicting peer social acceptance were expected. There seems to be consistency in the central role (although at different levels) of both parents and peers
strengthen the general importance of social support that has been found to contribute to the well-being of adolescents (including the general population, immigrants and refugees alike), even if the sources of social support may vary. These sources of social support may include the ethnic community, broader community, and the family (i.e., CorreaVelez, Gifford, & Barnett, 2010; Davies 2008; Whittaker et al., 2005).
The fourth research question on the mediating role of social support was not conducted. Failure of the mediation model in the present study was unexpected and may be due to a number of factors. First, low reliability coefficients with some study measures contributed to less power in correlations, which may have led to nonsignificant correlations among acculturation and psychosocial adjustment measures. These nonsignificant correlations failed to meet the conditions for a mediating model, which made it inappropriate to perform the analysis. Second, there was a lack of variability in the responses by participants on some measures (i.e., social support and psychosocial adjustment), as indicated in the descriptive statistics, which then provided a more restricted range of scores. The restricted range of scores may have been caused by social desirability responding on the part of participants, which then contributed to nonsignificant correlations among measures.
The fifth (ancillary) research question was to examine differences in psychosocial adjustment by gender and duration of stay in the U.S. Results showed that for both boys and girls, time spent in the US was associated with higher scores. It appeared that participants reported increased well-being based on time lived in the U.S. This may
Interpretation of results from the present study should be done with consideration of several limitations. First, participants were selected from two cities in one state.
Therefore, the results may not be representative of African adolescent refugees resettled in different cities and states in the U.S., especially those areas with large African refugee populations and those with well established refugee support programs. Also, the sample size in the study was fairly small (n = 70), with an imbalance in numbers for the countries represented (i.e., the majority of participants came from Sudan, n = 30, and very few from Somalia, n = 3). The small sample size may have contributed to some of the results in the statistical analyses (such as descriptive statistics, correlations, and reliabilities). A larger sample size of participants and more balanced representation in terms of cities and countries of origin may have provided more information and better comparisons in the responses to measures in the study.
Additionally, the mix of participants from different countries also may have led to some minimal effects in some of the analyses. The sample of participants was complex due to the different countries of origin represented. Therefore, the results in the study may have been affected by these differences (i.e., different manner of responding to items due to country of origin). It could be that the results may have been different if the study
been differences in peer social support due to gender differences. For example, boys may receive support primarily from boys and girls may get their support from only girls; the support they received then could be different. This possibility also may have impacted the results in the present study.