«The ongoing wars around the world have led to an ever increasing exodus of refugee populations for resettlement in developed countries, including the ...»
Assimilation is defined as the choice not to engage and participate in activities of the original culture and instead be fully immersed in the dominant or host culture. Separation occurs when an individual embraces the original culture and disassociates from the mainstream/dominant cultural activities or values. Integration is the option when an individual chooses to value his or her original culture and at the same time participate in the mainstream culture. Marginalization is the outcome when an individual rejects both original and mainstream cultures.
Psychosocial adjustment is defined as positive self-perception, a positive view of an individual‟s way of life that includes a sense of and being happy about the way one likes oneself (Kovacev & Shute, 2004). For the purposes of this study, psychosocial adjustment is operationalized as global self-worth and peer social acceptance. Global
oneself, in general, is happy with the way one is” (Harter, 1988, p. 261). Global SelfWorth will be measured by the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (Harter, 1988).
Social acceptance is defined as “the degree to which the adolescent feels popular among peers, has lots of friends, and feels like he or she is likable the way they are” (Harter, 1988, p. 261). Social acceptance will be measured by The Social Acceptance Scale of the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (Harter, 1988).
Social support is defined as the positive regard received or perceived from others (Harter, 1985). Social support from both close friends and parents will be included in this study, and will be measured by the close friend and parental support subscales of The Self-Perception Profile for Children (Harter, 1985). Parent is defined as a biological father or mother of the adolescent or, in the absence of parents, the present caregiver.
Close friend is a confidant or a peer one is able to talk with about anything and everything (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987).
Refugee is defined as any person who…owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, is outside a country of his nationality, and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country (UNHCR, 2000, p. 2).
African adolescent refugee refers to adolescents (boys and girls) from African countries (e.g., Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) ranging from 13-19 years old, who have resided in the United States for at least one year and no more than ten years, and enrolled in a public school grades 7
This study will be presented in five chapters. In Chapter 1, the overview of literature on the study, the purpose of the study, the statement of the problem, the need for the study, research questions, and definition of terms have been provided and discussed. In Chapter 2, a literature review on refugees in general, refugee adolescents, and African refugee adolescents in particular, acculturation, psychosocial adjustment, and social support from peers and parents will be presented. A discussion of the model of the study also will be provided. Chapter 3 includes a description of the methodology to be used in data collection, report of the pilot study, and statement of limitations. Chapter 4 will be a presentation and discussion of results. Chapter 5 will provide implications for counseling
In Chapter One, the purpose of the study on acculturation, psychosocial adjustment, and the role of social support for African adolescent refugees were presented. A brief introduction of the model of study also was provided. In this chapter, the literature on refugees in resettlement, adolescent refugees, and particularly African adolescent refugees will be examined. Additionally, African family values and some cultural dynamics pertinent to their development are investigated. Adolescent developmental tasks and how these are affected by refugee migration are described. A critique of the current research studies on refugees with a focus on the medical or trauma model is presented. To address the needs of refugees in the host country during resettlement, a model for study is presented with a focus on refugee psychosocial adjustment. The summary of the chapter is a presentation of the relationships among acculturation, psychosocial adjustment, and social support in relation to refugee resettlement and the importance of research with a focus on African adolescent refugees.
For a long time, several industrialized or developed countries in Europe and North America have been receiving immigrants and refugees from developing and
developing countries stretch across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Although both immigrants and refugees share the common element of being newcomers in a foreign country, there are distinct differences among the two groups. The main distinction between immigrants and refugees is the nature of departure, which is, forced for refugees versus voluntary for immigrants. In many instances, immigrants leave their countries of origin in search of better economic opportunities, educational purposes, or to reunite with family members in another country (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). As for refugees, “they are forced out of their countries because of human rights violations against them” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 4).
Refugees are also to be distinguished from forced migrants, persons who are forced out of their countries of origin due to natural disasters such as drought and adverse weather conditions (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). Forced migrants are not considered refugees due to the reasons for their departure; that is, they are forced out by natural calamities rather than persecution by others in their countries of origin.
By definition, different countries may have different definitions of persons they admit as immigrants. In the United States, an immigrant is “an alien admitted as a lawful permanent resident, immigrants are those persons lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 10). By contrast, refugees are clearly distinguished from all other immigrants and migrants because they are defined by international law. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines a refugee as “ someone outside his or her own country and is unable to return as a result of well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion,
limits of the UNHCR‟s definition, refugees also constitute persons who may be living in neighboring countries in refugee camps. These persons may eventually return to their countries of origin or may continue to live in host countries until they are granted official refugee status (McKinnon, 2008). One of the distinct refugee groups in migration are long term refugees, persons who are resettled in another country due to unforeseeable resolution to the wars and conflicts they flee from in their countries of origin (McKinnon, 2008).
The mass migration of long term refugees from their countries of origin to other countries has been an on-going occurrence since the 1980‟s, particularly during the last two decades. Although there are some differences regarding where refugees are resettled (e.g., depending on host country‟s resettlement policies), generally, destinations for the majority of refugees include countries such as Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Belgium. The reasons leading to refugee migrations vary by the continent refugees come from and the time of departure. For example, earlier refugee migrations from European countries included refugees from the Soviet and Former Soviet Union who fled their countries of origin due to the oppressive communist regimes (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002).
The communist regimes were characterized by several human rights violations such as opposition to freedom of speech and failure by the governments to hold free and fair elections in their countries. Consequently, many individuals who opposed the political status quo were either put into life imprisonment or executed (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002).
restricted towards those who opposed the existing governments. Besides some who opposed communist ideologies and therefore were subjected to persecution, a majority of refugees from the Former Soviet Union countries have been Jews and Christians who experienced anti-Semitism and continued to have well-founded fear of persecution in their country (U.S. Department of State, 1998). In the United States, many refugees from the Soviet Union have been resettled in the metropolitan cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, and, New York City (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002).
Eastern European countries (e.g., Romania, Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and more recently Kosovo) have been another source of refugees into the United States (Ferren, 1999; Layne et al., 2001; Potocky-Tripodi, 2002;
Smith, Perrin, Yule, Hacam, & Stuvland, 2002). The citizens of these countries experienced the same political repression as their counterparts in the Soviet Union countries due to the Soviet leadership that extended to Eastern Europe. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees (2000), the influx of refugees from these countries (except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) dropped in the early 1990‟s due to the democratic regimes that began to be established. This drop was interchanged by an increase of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo respectively (U.S. Committee for Refugees, 2000; U.S. Department of State, 1998a).
Refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina fled their country as a result of the outbreak of a civil war which led to numerous atrocities being committed against the civilian population (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). Notably, many refugees who were Muslims were
refugees from Kosovo who were admitted in the U.S. were subjected to ethnic and religious persecutions after the outbreak of NATO attacks on Kosovo (U.S. Department of State, 1998b). In the U.S., among other states, refugees from Eastern Europe have been resettled in New York City and Chicago.
Southeast Asia has been one of the leading sources of refugees from Asian countries.
These include refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, or commonly known as Indochinese (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). The arrival of Southeastern refugees in the U.S.
began after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and their resettlement continues even to date. Potocky-Tripodi found that many fled their country of origin as a result of unprecedented traumatic experiences such as witnessing and/or participating in the killing of their family members, loss of their family members, imprisonment, and continued torture. The Southeast refugees could further be categorized into different distinct groups.
Vietnamese are considered as the elite, most educated, and Westernized, while Cambodians and Laotians are considered the least educated and mainly illiterate (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). In the U.S., many Southeast Asian refugees have been resettled in various cities in California (e.g., Merced).
From the Middle East countries, the United States has been a recipient of refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. The resettlement of refugees from Afghanistan dates back to the early 1980‟s after the Soviet invasion of the country (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002).
Since the withdrawal of the Soviets in the early 1990‟s, there has been continued fighting among different groups internally, including the Taliban fundamentalists and those in
fundamentalist and oppressive rule that has been characteristic of the regimes in Afghanistan, there has been discrimination against women in terms of education, employment, and health care (Krumm, 1998). Consequently, many Afghan women have been resettled in the U.S. as refugees. On the other hand, refugees from Iran began fleeing their country after the institution of the repressive Islamic regime by Ayatollah Khomeini (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). Since then, many Iranians have been subjected to restrictions, discrimination, and harassment due to their religious affiliations. Some of the religious minorities who fled the country as a result of persecution have been resettled in different states in the U.S.
The end of the Persian-Gulf war from 1990-91 led to some refugees fleeing from Iraq fearing persecution and torture if they returned to their country (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002).
These refugees comprised some ethnic and religious minorities whose lives were in danger due to the oppressive Iraqi regime (U.S. Department of State, 1998). More recent Iraqi refugees have fled their country after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although the war still continues to date, a number of religious minorities (e.g., Christians) have fled the country for fear of persecution and torture by the majority Islamic groups. In the U.S., many Iraqis have been resettled in some cities in North Carolina and Michigan, particularly around the Detroit area.
The African continent has been another source of refugee migration. From the estimated 9.2 million refugees worldwide, the UNHCR (2005) found that the largest migration of refugees in 2005 came from African countries (e.g., Sudan, Somalia, and the
refugees resettled in the United States (UNHCR, 2006). Besides Sudan, Somalia, and DRC, other countries of refugee migrations from Africa include Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia (UNHCR, 2005).
African Refugees in Resettlement The United States has been one of the highest recipients of refugees in general and, more recently, African refugees. Although the U.S. has a limit on the number of refugees admitted yearly, historically there was a tendency to favor resettlement of refugees from Communist and former Communist countries compared to non-communist countries (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). The U.S. refugee resettlement policies slightly shifted in the early 1990‟s as refugees from African countries were admitted. Documentation has indicated that refugee migration increased tremendously in 2006, with a total population of 9.9 million refugees worldwide (Office of Refugee Resettlement, 2007).