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05-09-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2018

Ecological Factors that Impact Adjustment Processes and Development of Ugandan Adolescent Immigrant Females

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2018
Emily Green, Kit Chesla, Yewoubdar Beyene, Susan Kools


Existing literature suggests that acculturation and integration processes for immigrant youth from East Africa are complicated by family values, interaction styles, and social roles that are in conflict with those of the US host culture. The purpose of this study was to explore first-generation female Ugandan immigrant youth perceptions, beliefs and attitudes toward self-development and identify factors among their social contexts that impact their development and adjustment. This study utilized dimensional analysis, an approach to the generation of grounded theory. Data collection included over 100 h of community participatory observation and 28 interviews in total. Participants included 20 English speaking Ugandan females aged 16–25 years who immigrated to the US after age of eight. Participants’ adaptations and adjustments led to an altered developmental path, including their beliefs about gender, ethnic and racial identities, and how they balanced and integrated US culture into their existing understandings and cultural awareness. Conditions that impacted the identity development process include timing of their immigration, the contexts of reception, media, the Ugandan Community, the school social setting, the perceived value of Ugandan cultural maintenance vs. the value of adopting certain American traits, and experiences of prejudice and discrimination vs. new future opportunities. The findings represent an in-depth consideration of the cultural, linguistic, religious, racial, and social attributes of the female Ugandan immigrant youth population and can therefore be seen as an important step in the direction of developing an understanding of the developmental assets and risk/protective factors that characterize this young immigrant population.

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