Stronger together: Community resilience and Somali Bantu refugees

Author(s): Rochelle L. FROUNFELKER, Shanze TAHIR, Abdi ABDIRAHMAN, Theresa S. BETANCOURT


Objectives: Refugee populations are at risk of adverse mental health outcomes. It is important to identify refugee strengths at the community level that can be leveraged to overcome barriers to well-being. In pursuit of this goal, this study focuses on identifying what promotes community resilience among Somali Bantu refugees in the United States. Method: Researchers used snowball-sampling strategies in a large New England city to recruit 81 Somali Bantu youth and adults to participate in 14 focus groups conducted between 2011 and 2013. Researchers used principles of thematic content analysis to analyze data specific to the construct of community resilience. Results: Authors identified 2 main components of Somali Bantu community resilience: independence and cultural preservation. There were 2 themes related to promoting community resilience among Somali Bantu: commitment to community, and religion and spirituality. Conclusions: We discuss the importance of identifying culturally informed components of community resilience that can be used to develop services for refugee populations.

Tags: Somalia, United States, Refugees, Community, Resilience, Religion, Spirituality, Cultural identity, Cultural resources

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