Trauma and Coping in Somali and Oromo Refugee Youth
Halcon, Linda L.
Robertson, Cheryl L.
New York, NY: Elsevier
Journal of Adolescent Health 35 1, July 2004, 17-25 pages
Investigates the interplay of pre-migration experiences, current problems, and coping strategies of Somali and Oromo refugee youth living in the United States. Study participants were 338 18- to 25-year-old Somali and Oromo men and women living in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. Key survey findings revealed that: (1) Oromo youth reported significantly more traumatic events than did Somali youth; (2) higher levels of reported trauma were correlated with psychological and physical problems; (3) more Oromo women and fewer Oromo men, compared to Somali women and men, reported finding American life hard to understand; (4) women were more likely to deal with their sadness by talking about problems with friends, whereas men were more likely to cope by exercising; and (5) youth who came to the U.S. to get a job or education or reunite with family were less likely to plan to return home. The study also highlights important gender differences, including superior ability of the mento negotiate daily life in the U.S. due to English fluency, and greater likelihood for women to feel socially isolated. Differences between ethnic and gender groups suggest the need for programs and services tailored to subgroups' unique situations.