Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Chang, Janet


This study explored the resettlement-related challenges that refugees encounter in the United States (U.S.). It utilized a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews with three refugee families from different countries of origin: Afghanistan, Burma, and Iraq. The interviews were analyzed through a system of coding and categorization in order to develop themes of commonly reported challenges across participants. Six dominant themes of resettlement‑related challenges were identified: employment, financial insecurities, bureaucracy, English language competency, family separation, and unfulfilled expectations and hope. The participants also reported that these challenges had negative effects on their mental health and described feeling worried and depressed. The data was conceptualized utilizing Berry’s (2008) acculturation framework, and it was found that the families utilized the acculturation strategy of integration. Recommendations are provided for volunteer programs in which Americans assist newly resettled refugee families as well as for policies that are more adaptive to refugees’ needs and that uphold the values of diversity and create a welcoming environment for refugees.

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