A Scoping Review: An Assessment of Resettlement Stressors and the Mental Health of Adult Refugee Women in the United States Open Access

Mohamud, Lul (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/ms35tb10n?locale=en


The refugee experience is composed of three major stages including displacement, migration, and resettlement. Existing literature on displacement and migration highlights the vulnerability of refugees, and particularly the vulnerability of women and girls in refugee camps or traveling across continents for new lives. The reality of the displacement and migration experience for refugee women exists through the lens of gender-based discrimination, inequity, and violence. Refugee women are victims of various forms of structural and cultural violence and current literature provides examples and trends identifying the linkage between vulnerability, experiences of violence, and the resulting mental health effects of displacement and migration trauma. However, there is less research available on how the vulnerabilities of refugee women apply within the resettlement stage of their refugee experience in western countries - especially amidst refugee women with multiple minority status resettled in the United States. To properly support refugee women’s mental health in resettlement, we must understand the current scope of the literature on the nature of resettlement stressors and their effect. 

The purpose of this scoping review is to compile and assess existing and available literature published on acculturative resettlement stressors experienced by adult refugee women in the United States. In this scoping review, a literature search was conducted with 3 databases to collect articles on acculturative resettlement stressors. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies were included and findings placed into five categories: family structure and function, child-rearing and relationships, intimate partner relationships, community and culture, and adjustment stressors. This review found that refugee women are vulnerable to multiple forms of resettlement stressors. Additionally the volatile mental health of spouses and family members are cited as a unique stressor for refugee women. This review identifies the need to expand resettlement-specific studies to better develop a comprehensive understanding of mental health throughout resettlement. This review found a significant gap in acculturation literature, regarding refugee women’s lives beyond migration and into the compounding effects of US-specific stressors. 

Table of Contents

Introductory Pages

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Abstract Title Page


Thesis Title Page


Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Literature Review 8

Methods 41

Results 47

Discussion 61

References 72


Search Strategy 103

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