Developing A Sense of Belonging During Resettlement Amongst Former Refugee Young Adults

  • Author / Creator
    Brar-Josan, Novjyot Joti
  • Sense of belonging is believed to be a fundamental human characteristic (Maslow, 1987), however there has been little discussion on the belongingness need in psychology. One unique population that has also been neglected in this body of literature is refugee young adults. Prior to migration, some refugees experience separation, loss, isolation, and discrimination and these experiences can persist in resettlement countries. Developing social connections is a key factor in mediating the impact of pre and post-migration stress (Kovacev & Shute, 2004; Simich, Beiser, & Mawani, 2003). Furthermore, refugees themselves have identified a sense of belonging as an indicator of successful integration (Ager & Strang, 2004; Hogarth, 2011). Although, research with refugee children and youth has increased in regards to positive mentoring relationships (e.g., Brar, 2010) and sense of belonging in educational settings (Chopra et al., 2004; Howland, Anderson, Smiley, & Abbott, 2006; Rueda& Genzuk, 2007), little is known about the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Using a qualitative interpretive description (Thorne, 2008) methodology, six former refugee young adults were interviewed and data were analyzed thematically. Specifically, the study explored the conditions, actions, and behaviors that facilitate belonging. Five pathways to belonging were identified: (1) Feeling comfortable, (2) Feeling confident, (3) Feeling accepted, (4) Sense of purpose, and (5) Integration. Practice implications for psychologists who work with refugee young adults are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Counselling Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Everall, Robin (Educational Psychology)
    • Kreitzer, Linda (Social Work)
    • Richter, Solina (Nursing)
    • Larsen, Denise (Educational Psychology)
    • Drolet, Julie (Social Work)