Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sharon Patten, Ph.D.


The rural area of Minnesota has an increasing population due to the arrival of Somalian refugees. The Somali families have relocated to Minnesota as a result of a civil war in their country. This exploratory study examined what factors in childhood contributed to the development of resiliency in adult, female, Somalian refugees. Somali people are now focusing on resettlement and survival in the United States. The tasks they face are finding adequate, affordable housing, overcoming loss and isolation, coping with cultural adjustment and learning English. There were 5 participants in the study, ranging in age from the low-20's to the mid-60's. The study revealed that most Somalis have strong family ties, which provide stability in times of need. The findings also revealed that the psychological outcomes of the refugees' adaptation to their new home depend on several factors including family and social supports and inner strengths. Religious and family activities are an important part of Somali culture. All the study participants appeared to possess some problem solving skills. Implications for social work practice focus on the value of identifying and enhancing resiliency factors so that individuals, family and society may benefit. Additional training is needed in the field of social work to further understand refugee issues, policy, cultural considerations, and issues of grief and loss. This study expands the scope of social sciences by addressing the lack of research about refugee families.


SC 11.MSW.2001.Arends.JL

Included in

Social Work Commons