A test of general strain theory with Somali refugee youth: a consideration of police, teacher, and family strains
Abdi, Saida M.
MetadataShow full item record
This three-paper dissertation tests whether General Strain Theory (GST) can be helpful in explaining the relationship between strains experienced by refugee youth and youth’s anti-social behaviors such as delinquency and radicalization to violence and what factors mediate the relationship between strain and crime. Additionally, it uses mixed methods combining community meaning-making with quantitative research methods to provide multiple lenses to the issue of youth and negative outcomes. The first chapter presents the context in which Somali refugee youth experiences should be examined as well as relevant literature. The second chapter examines if GST can help us understand the experiences of Somali youth and delinquencies. It examines if three strains (procedural injustice, teacher punishment, and family conflict) are significantly related to crimes against people among this population and if this relationship is mediated by mental health symptoms and marginalization. The results show that both procedural justice and teacher punishment were able to predict crimes against people but the relationship between procedural injustice and crimes against people was fully mediated by mental health symptoms and by marginalization while the relationship between teacher mistreatment and crime remained significant even when mental health symptoms and marginalization were added to the equation. Surprisingly, while the family conflict was highly correlated with both marginalization and mental health symptoms, it was not significantly related to crimes against people. The third chapter applies GST to radicalization to violence among Somali youth. It examines whether three strains (procedural injustice, teacher punishment, and family conflict) predict youth radicalization to violence and whether this relationship is mediated by individual-level factors such as mental health, marginalization and gang attitudes. The analysis shows that only procedural injustice is significantly related to radicalization to violence and that both marginalization and gang attitudes fully mediated the relationship while mental health partially mediated it. The final chapter uses Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine community meaning making around youth radicalization. Qualitative interview results show that community members were able to identify important structural, cultural and individual level factors that led to youth radicalization and that many of the factors that they identified such as police and teacher mistreatment and gang presence where similar to the findings in the quantitative research.