Resilience Among Refugees: Context, Culture, and Community

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

April S. Masarik


After World War II and the Great Depression, an interest on a phenomenon of subgroups of “at risk” children experiencing positive adaptation peaked (Masten, 2001). Research over the last 50 years has helped scientists and clinicians of several disciplines work to define and understand resilience as an independent set of processes associated with adaptation and mental health (Zautra, Hall, & Murray, 2010; Maston, 2011). In investigating the ways in which children cope with exposure to trauma (e.g., violence; natural disasters; migration; war) earlier studies focused on resilience as a reflection of an individual's capacity to overcome life challenges. Today, researchers appreciate resilience as a complex multi-pathway process of individuals’ informal and formal social networks to facilitate positive development under stress (Obrist, Pfeiffer, & Henley, 2010; Ungar, 2011). The ongoing global refugee crisis has intensified the need for a new wave of studies calls for more focus on the complexity of cultural and social-ecological aspects of resilience (Kulig et. Al., 2013). Within a community, individuals may not have access to resources that promote and facilitate psychological well being, examples of these resources include accessible education, community belonging, job security and access to healthcare. In this presentation we discuss the history and context of resilience, ideas for future theoretical and empirical research, and ways to consider culture-specific influences that inform community policy and programs.

This document is currently not available here.