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Relation of Psychosocial Factors to Diverse Behaviors and Attitudes Among Somali Refugees

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
16 pages
This study used latent profile analysis to examine the ways in which delinquency, gang involvement, civic engagement, political engagement, and openness to violent extremism clustered among Somali refugees.
Refugee studies have examined both resilience and adverse outcomes, but no research has examined how different outcomes co-occur or are distinct, as well as the social-contextual factors that give rise to these diverse outcomes. In remedying this research gap, the current study used multivariable regression analyses to examine how adversity (e.g., discrimination, trauma, and marginalization) is associated with the identified latent classes. Data were collected from 374 Somali refugee young adults (Mage = 21.30 years, SD = 2.90, range 18–30, 38 percent female) from four different North-American communities. Participants completed a structured survey that assessed their experiences of adversity, delinquent and/or violent attitudes and behaviors (e.g., attitudes toward violent extremism, participation in delinquent behaviors, involvement in gangs), and positive outcomes (e.g., civic and political engagement). Study findings indicate that participants fell into five distinct groups, and that social-contextual and individual factors were uniquely related to those groups. Specifically, strong social bonds seemed to be associated with positive outcomes. These findings point to the need for further examination of both positive and negative outcomes, paying special attention to social–contextual factors. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2016