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Immigration, aging and life satisfaction among older Vietnamese refugees: A resilience perspective

TitleImmigration, aging and life satisfaction among older Vietnamese refugees: A resilience perspective
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsChiem, M
UniversityChiem, Mythu: U Washington, US
Accession NumberDissertation Abstract: 2008-99110-418
Keywords*Aging, *Immigration, *Life Satisfaction, *Refugees, *Resilience (Psychological), Developmental Psychology [2800], Gerontology, Health & Mental Health Treatment & Prevention [3300], Human Adulthood (18 yrs & older) Aged (65 yrs & older), immigration, aging, life satisfaction, older Vietnamese refugees, resilience, us
AbstractResettlement in a foreign country with different cultural values, practices, and traditions requires profound changes in attitudes, behaviors, and expectations for refugees. Presumably, such resettlement is a crisis situation that demands many changes, thus placing an individual at some degree of risk for increased stress and negative physical and mental health outcomes. Immigration and resettlement are especially difficult for older refugees because their aging process is interrupted and complicated by cultural and other life transitions. Cognitive disorientation and feelings of helplessness are common among older refugees as the result of abrupt immersion into a new cultural environment, particularly when there is minimal or no preparation. Yet some refugees show enormous strength, resilience, and high life satisfaction, despite these cultural and social disruptions. Despite increased research on refugees, little is known about the factors contributing to the variability of life satisfaction among older refugees. Some older refugees seem to adjust to the new country and culture with relative ease and manage to establish new roles, modify their expectations, and find new meanings and values in their lives. Others appear to experience disorientation and dissatisfaction with resettlement and with their lives. The aims of this dissertation research were to better understand the aging experiences of older Vietnamese refugees and to identify factors associated with resilient adjustment and life satisfaction. To understand the aging experiences of older refugees, the complexities of immigration along with the multiple trajectories of the aging process, their intersections, and how they might influence life satisfaction must be recognized. Thus, contextualizing older refugees' experiences is important. Because individuals' experiences of stress and life satisfaction are based on their subjective appraisals-which in turn are influenced by the intersection of their unique characteristics, past experiences, expectations, and cultural frames of reference-analyses of historical, social, and cultural contexts will improve our understanding of why some older refugees appear to be resilient while others are dissatisfied. In this study grounded theory was used to explore the historical, social, and cultural contexts that may be relevant for clarifying both resilience and life satisfaction among older Vietnamese refugees. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).