Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Pablo Bose

Second Advisor

Karen Fondacaro

Abstract

Rates of post-traumatic stress in adult refugees are exceedingly high, occurring at ten times that of the general United States population. The current study examines an understudied, but common, potential risk factor to the exacerbation and maintenance of severe post-traumatic stress symptoms in refugee populations: parenting. While parent status is an established correlate of PTSD in other populations (i.e., veterans, broadly defined immigrants), no studies have examined how parent status is related to post-traumatic stress symptoms in refugee populations. The current study draws upon a clinic-presenting sample of 150 refugee adults. Linear regressions were employed to determine (1) whether parent status was linked to severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms, (2) whether gender moderated the relationship between parent status and post-traumatic stress symptoms, (3) whether satisfaction with community support moderated the relationship between parent status and post-traumatic stress symptoms, and (4) whether gender and community support collectively moderated the relationship between parent status and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Findings indicated that 38.67% of participants demonstrated clinical levels of post-traumatic stress. Parents evidenced higher rates of post-traumatic stress symptomology than non-parents. Community support moderated the relationship between parent status and post-traumatic stress, such that non-parents with higher levels of satisfaction with community support had lower levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms than did parents and non-parents with less satisfactory community support. When examined by gender, findings revealed that this effect was largely driven by the experiences of non-parent males, who demonstrated the lowest levels of post-traumatic stress of all demographic groups, particularly when receiving highly satisfactory community support. The effect of gender on the relationship between parent status and post-traumatic stress symptoms was non-significant. An exploratory, qualitative analysis examined parents’ perspectives of the concerns they face. Of 33 parents who provided responses to open-ended questions, three themes emerged as topics of concern: family, health, and economics. Overall, findings of the current study indicate that parents experience elevated rates of post-traumatic stress as compared to their non-parent counterparts. Satisfactory community support may be especially beneficial for non-parents. Parents experience multiple and interrelated stressors. Future studies should examine which mechanisms link parent status with post-traumatic stress symptomology and how different types and quantities of community support may benefit parents.

Language

en

Number of Pages

96 p.

Available for download on Tuesday, June 07, 2022

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