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.

LLU Discipline

Social Policy and Social Research


Social Work


School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Yacoub, Ignatius

Second Advisor

McCleary, Roseanna

Third Advisor

Schubert, Christiane

Fourth Advisor

Sorajjakool, Siroj

Fifth Advisor

Wilson, Colwick

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2011

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Refugees -- United States; Delivery of Health Care -- United States; Assimilation (sociology); Immigrants -- United States; Culture Shock; Intercultural Communication

Subject - Local

Immigrants, Refugees, Refugee Experience, Culture Shock, Acculturative Stress



Page Count

191 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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Social Policy Commons