Connecting in resettlement: An examination of social support among Congolese women in the United States

Karin Wachter, Lauren E. Gulbas, Susanna Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines how refugees rebuild social support in resettlement from the perspectives of women who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo and ultimately resettled in the U.S. The qualitative study involved in-depth individual interviews in 2016 with 27 adult women who lived in a mid-size U.S. town. The findings shed light on strategies women engaged to rebuild social support in a resettlement context. Using an inductive analytical approach, researchers identified five inter-related themes: (1) reconfiguring family support; (2) engaging multiple sources for practical support; (3) accessing mentorship; (4) attending places of worship; and (5) sustaining a relationship with God. Additionally, the analysis revealed crosscutting types and sources of social support women sought and valued in resettlement. Types of social support included emotional, informational, mentorship, practical, relational, and spiritual. Sources of social support included family and loved ones spanning local, national, and transnational geographies, God, neighbors, places of worship, and the resettlement agency. These findings contribute to developing context-specific conceptualizations of social support, with implications for research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQualitative Social Work
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • immigration
  • psychosocial
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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