Ethnic identity, intergenerational conflict and mental health in Somali refugee adolescents
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It is well documented that refugee youth resettling in the United States (U.S.) have high rates of mental health problems, and it is important to gain a better understanding of the risk and protective factors that contribute to these difficulties, including cultural identity and intergenerational conflict. The present study focused on refugee adolescents from Somalia who have resettled in the U.S. and sought to investigate how symptoms of depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are predicted by 1) cultural identity (ethnic identity and biculturalism); (2) two types of intergenerational conflict (developmental and acculturative); and (3) the interaction of ethnic identity with intergenerational conflict. Seventy-eight Somali adolescents (ages 12-19), 39 males and 39 females, participated in this cross-sectional study. Each participant completed a standardized semistructured interview comprised of questionnaires about trauma exposure, ethnic identity, biculturalism, intergenerational conflict, and cutTent mental health symptoms. All interviews were conducted in English in collaboration with a cultural broker who was available for translation or concept clarification when necessary. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses examined both main and interaction effects of predictor variables (ethnic identity, biculturalism and severity of intergenerational conflict) with outcome variables (symptoms of depression and PTSD). Covariates included age and years resettled in the U.S., and trauma exposure when relevant. Exploratory analyses examined how these relationships differed by gender and sub-ethnicities (Somali and Somali Bantu). As hypothesized, higher levels of ethnic identity related significantly, whereas higher levels of biculturalism related marginally to lower levels of depression. Contrary to prediction, no relationships were found between ethnic identity or biculturalism and symptoms of PTSD. Also as predicted, a significant positive relationship was found between severity of intergenerational conflict and symptoms of depression and PTSD. Ethnic identity was found to moderate the relationship between severity of intergenerational conflict and depression for females and Somalis, such that for both, severity of intergenerational conflict had less impact on symptoms of depression when participants demonstrated medium and high levels of ethnic identity than when they demonstrated low levels of ethnic identity. Clinical implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University PLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. PLEASE NOTE ALSO: pages 103-105 of this dissertation contain material that is copyright UCLA (UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for DSM IV). We present here a redacted version of the dissertation. An unredacted version can be obtained by members of the BU community by emailing email@example.com.