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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Resettlement transition experiences among Sudanese refugee women
by Baird, Martha Brownfield, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2009, 214; 3352364
Abstract (Summary)

The prolonged civil-war and famine in the African nation of Sudan has displaced millions over the last two decades, many of these are women and children. Refugee women who are resettled to the US with their children must make profound adjustments to learn how to live in the American society and culture. Very little is understood about the factors and conditions that affect the health of immigrant and refugee populations who resettle to a host country.

This ethnographic study investigates the influences to health and well-being in 10 refugee women from the Dinka tribe of southern Sudan who were resettled with their children to a Midwestern city in the United States (US). The in-depth interviews and participant observation that occurred over the one-year period of the study resulted in an interpretive theory of Well-Being in Refugee Women Experiencing Cultural Transition. Well-being in Dinka mothers is understood through the relationships between three major themes: Liminality: Living Between Two Cultures, Standing for Myself, and Hope for the Future. Liminality: Living Between Two Cultures describes how the women struggled to maintain a delicate balance between their traditional Dinka culture and the new American culture. The theme of Standing for Myself addresses how learning new skills and taking on new roles in the US, led to transformation of the refugee women. The third theme of Hope for the Future emphasizes the Dinka cultural values of communality and religious convictions that gave the women hope for a better future for their families and countrymen.

The middle-range theory of transitions was used as a theoretical framework to guide the investigation of well-being of the refugee women and their families during resettlement. The study extends of the theory of transitions to refugee women from southern Sudan by developing a theoretical explanation for how refugee Dinka women attain well-being during transition. The results of this study strongly indicate that ‘cultural transition’ be added as a distinct type of transition significant to understand the health needs of refugee women. The knowledge from this study will lead to the development of culturally competent interventions for resettled refugee families.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boyle, Joyceen S., McEwen, Marylyn M.
Commitee: Michaels, Cathleen L., Reed, Pamela G.
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Nursing
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Nursing
Keywords: Culture, Ethnography, Refugees, Resettlement, Sudan, Transition, Women
Publication Number: 3352364
ISBN: 978-1-109-09227-1
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