2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. April S. Masarik


Refugees are individuals who involuntarily move from their home due to the exposure of traumatic experiences such as persecution, war, or natural disaster. Our efforts concentrated on the protective factors that promote resilience (or the ability to adapt to challenges) during resettlement, which are investigated less in current empirical literature (Masten, 2018). To guide our endeavor, we searched for relevant key terms (e.g., refugee, protective factors, and resilience) in scholarly databases (e.g., PsycINFO). We found a total of 30 articles: 22 were cross-sectional studies and eight were longitudinal. For this review, we examined protective factors in multiple layers or ecologies, as motivated by the Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), that were linked to positive outcomes for refugees within the individual, among interpersonal relationships, and community support systems. Overall, this review highlights several factors that promote resilience (e.g., religiosity, family dynamics, school connectedness, and social support) despite past trauma and resettlement stress. Findings may inform theory development, as well as programs and policies intended to support refugees during resettlement.