Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Kathryn Quina


Research has been conducted which examines the psychological impact of separation from one's cultural resources for refugees living in refugee camps. This study examines the role of access to cultural resources, such as social support, traditional ceremonies, elders and religion, in fostering resilience amongst African refugees. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the factors that contribute to resilience and healing in refugee, as well as those factors which contribute to psychological distress. This study utilizes qualitative methodology and has a sample size of ten participants. The interviews in this study revealed a great deal of resilience amongst participants and their peers. Cultural resources, particularly social support and religion played an important role in fostering this resilience. The greatest causes of psychological distress in the refugee camps, as reported by participants, were in fact, a dearth of basic necessities and material resources. The results of this research suggest that the provision of adequate basic necessities to refugees would greatly improve their psychological well-being and allow refugees' own cultural systems of social and psychological support to flourish, even as they live in a refugee camp setting.



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