Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sharon Patten, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Phu Phan, M.S.W.

Third Advisor

Evelyn Lennon, M.S.W.


Research on the refugee experiences of Somali women is limited. This qualitative study contributes to the existing research on refugee issues by focusing on the experiences and meaning for Somali women who have survived war, fled from their homeland, and were resettled into a new country. An interview guide was used to conduct in-depth interviews with three Somali women about their meaning to their experiences of being a refugee and resettlement into a new country. Content analysis was used to find common themes about the Somali women's refugee experiences. Results of the study concluded that the refugee experience of leaving one's homeland and loved ones, witnessing war and violence, living in a refugee camp, and moving to an unfamiliar environment and culture has impacted who these woman are today. A strong belief in the Islamic religion, prayer, and the appreciation for life and safety have been motivating factors for survival. Implications for social work practice that are included in this research discuss the importance of having knowledge about the culture, customs, and religious faith of the Somali population when working with Somali clients. Use of ecological systems theory and cognitive theory guide us in understanding the refugee experience and how individuals are impacted by their experiences and separation from their familiar social support.


SC 11.MSW.2001.Valiquet.L

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Social Work Commons