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Thursday, June 18 • 3:45pm - 5:15pm
Immigration Blues - Alexa Smith-Osborne, Marja Tiilikainen, Julie Tippens

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Immigration Blues:

Abstract #250
Bicultural Youth Resilience Study
Presenter: Alexa Smith-Osborne
Background and Purpose:
While there are interventions to sustain resilience among children living in adversity, there is a shortage of prevention programs for specific bicultural groups. This mixed methods study investigated a manualized brief resilience theory-based parent/child program designed to assess differential susceptibility and support resilience among American military and Spanish-speaking immigrants.  
The protocol for parallel school-age child and parent sessions was tested using a mixed methods multiple case study design (n=68).   Children were screened at pretest to ensure they did not meet criteria for a stress/trauma disorder diagnosis. Baseline data were collected at two data points including resilience and environmental measures.  Intervention phase data were collected using standardized observational behavioral rating scales and narrative progress notes. 
All children showed an increase in prosocial and self-regulated behaviors across multiple settings. An increase in engagement in positive ecosystems and decrease in risky settings occurred for 30%.  Parents reported an increase in their use of social reinforcement and reduction in punishment. Parents were also observed to increase their knowledge of environmental resources, advocacy, behavioral management strategies, and resilience factors.
Conclusions and Implications:
Brief, targeted preventive services offer cost-effective benefits to bicultural youth in  environmental resource access, self-regulation, social/ academic behaviors.

Abstract #257
Resilience Among Transnational Somali Families in Toronto: Experiences of Two Generations
Presenter: Marja Tiilikainen
Canadian Somali community is one of the socio-economically deprived communities in Toronto. The majority lives in social housing projects in neighborhoods that are characterized by high rates of school drop-outs, crimes and poverty.  In 2011 the high-school drop-out rate among Somali-speaking students was 25%, and since 2005, an estimated number of 50 young Canadian Somalis have been killed by gun-violence. 
However, despite challenges and adversities that the Canadian Somali community at large is facing, there are also families who have managed well as comes to employment and raising up children. In this paper, I aim to explore why some Canadian Somali families do better than the others.  Which factors may support family resilience? What is the role of (transnational) family as experienced and narrated by both parents and their children regarding wellbeing and resilience of the family? 
The paper is based on ongoing research on transnational Somali families in Canada, Finland and Somalia, funded by the Academy of Finland (2012–2017). The presentation draws from data collected during 9 moths of fieldwork in Toronto, and comprises interviews of two generations in 9 families of Somali descent, 5 focus group interviews, and other interviews with Somali communities including some participant observation.

Abstract #258
Refugee Resilience in Times of Political Insecurity: Urban Congolese Coping in Nairobi, Kenya
Presenter: Julie Tippens
In March 2014 the Government of Kenya issued a directive mandating all urban refugees to relocate to camps. This policy, combined with police raids in neighborhoods with high immigrant populations, placed refugees in legal limbo, sending many Congolese into hiding. This paper is based on 12-months of multi-methods research with urban Congolese refugees in Nairobi, Kenya, and examines resilience-fostering strategies employed by this group during this period of political insecurity. While most participants reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression, some individuals, households and communities utilized creative, culturally salient resilience strategies to offset the environmental instability. 
Drawing on concepts of social ecological resilience, and using positive deviance inquiry to frame ethnographic, interview and survey research, I show how perceived resilience mechanisms and supports are stratified along ethnic lines. Ethnic Banyamulenge Congolese demonstrated strong bonding mechanisms in insecure settings, relying almost exclusively on other ethnic community members, whereas other Congolese ethnic groups garnered supportive resilience resources from both inside and outside of their community.  
This paper contributes to research that seeks to identify culturally-specific forms of resilience among urban refugees, and will address variations in perceptions and uses of resilience resources across ethnic, sex and cultural lines.


Alexa Smith-Osborne

Alexa Smith-Osborne, Ph.D., M.S.W., is an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Clinical Social Work in the School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, and a licensed clinical social worker (L.C.S.W.). Dr. Smith-Osborne’s primary research interests include... Read More →
avatar for Julie Tippens

Julie Tippens

Julie A. Tippens, MA, MPH is a doctor of public health candidate at the University of Arizona, where she is also pursuing a doctoral minor and graduate certificate in medical anthropology. Her research lends anthropological insight into issues of forced migration and refugee psychosocial... Read More →

Marja Tiilikainen

Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki
Marja Tiilikainen (PhD, Adjunct Professor in comparative religion) is Academy Research Fellow at the Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Finland. She has conducted long-term research on Somali migrants and carried out ethnographic research in Finland, Northern Somalia... Read More →

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:45pm - 5:15pm EDT
Haliburton Room A&A Main Floor, King's College

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