The psychological functioning of Bosnian refugees residing in the United States: An examination of the impact of trauma, acculturation, community connectedness, perceived discrimination and ethnic identity




Sinkule, Jennifer A.

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The worldwide population of refugees continues to grow, and a significant proportion of these individuals experience poor physical, psychological, social and occupational functioning. Empirical research examining specific pre- and post-migrations factors which predict psychological functioning and help-seeking among refugees is scarce. The present study will obtain cross-sectional, self-report data from 204 Bosnian refugees living in the US. Trauma is expected to have a direct positive relationship with symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a direct negative relationship with well-being and help-seeking, and will be controlled in subsequent analyses. The integration style of acculturation is predicted to lead to the most positive outcomes, whereas the separation and marginalization strategies are expected to be positively related to symptoms of depression and PTSD and negatively relates to wellbeing and help-seeking. Perceived discrimination is expected to be positively related to symptoms of depression and PTSD and negatively related to well-being and help-seeking. In addition, connectedness to Bosnian versus US communities will be examined as an alternative conceptualization of acculturation. Finally, exploratory hypothesis will examine whether high ethnic identity salience attenuates or strengthens the negative effects of discrimination on depression and PTSD symptomatology, as well as the positive effect on well-being.



Refugee, Trauma, Acculturation, Community connectedness, Discrimination, Ethnic identity