Title

Somali Women in Maine: Stories of Occupational Adaptation

Presenter Information

Roxie M. Black

Start Time

24-10-2008 8:30 AM

End Time

24-10-2008 9:00 AM

Abstract

As Somali women refugees struggle to understand the culture of and learn to successfully participate in their host country, they experience significant changes in both their roles and occupations. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the occupational activities of Somali women in Africa before and during the civil war, and the adaptations they have made as refugees to successfully integrate into their new communities in Maine. Additionally, the researcher sought to determine what community or social supports encourage them as they live their lives here in Maine, and what provide barriers to their successful participation. Methods: This is a grounded theory, qualitative study with seven Somali women. Each woman was interviewed more than once and each interview was audio recorded, transcribed, and reviewed by the participant as a member check prior to the next interview. The first interview examined the participant’s occupations while in Africa. The second and sometimes third interviews elicited stories of her move to Lewiston, Maine, her current activities, supports and barriers to participation, and her satisfaction with her current social participation status. The researcher employed the constant comparison method of analysis, using categorizing and coding to develop themes in order to build theory regarding the above. Additionally, three of the first interviews were analyzed by other therapists to provide another means of testing for trustworthiness of analysis. Results: The majority of participants in this study experienced multiple shifts in their contexts and occupations; from a period of general occupational balance to occupational deprivation during the war to redefinition of roles and occupations as refugees in a foreign country. Emerging themes from the data analysis that help describe the occupational adaptation experienced by the participants include: Education in Somalia and Maine, Social supports, Daring to be different, and a Future Orientation. Although these women may not represent the traditional Somali woman, they may be examples of the transitional Somali woman, a woman who is willing to take risks, embracing role and occupational changes in an effort to claim her future while successfully participating in her new community.

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Oct 24th, 8:30 AM Oct 24th, 9:00 AM

Somali Women in Maine: Stories of Occupational Adaptation

As Somali women refugees struggle to understand the culture of and learn to successfully participate in their host country, they experience significant changes in both their roles and occupations. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the occupational activities of Somali women in Africa before and during the civil war, and the adaptations they have made as refugees to successfully integrate into their new communities in Maine. Additionally, the researcher sought to determine what community or social supports encourage them as they live their lives here in Maine, and what provide barriers to their successful participation. Methods: This is a grounded theory, qualitative study with seven Somali women. Each woman was interviewed more than once and each interview was audio recorded, transcribed, and reviewed by the participant as a member check prior to the next interview. The first interview examined the participant’s occupations while in Africa. The second and sometimes third interviews elicited stories of her move to Lewiston, Maine, her current activities, supports and barriers to participation, and her satisfaction with her current social participation status. The researcher employed the constant comparison method of analysis, using categorizing and coding to develop themes in order to build theory regarding the above. Additionally, three of the first interviews were analyzed by other therapists to provide another means of testing for trustworthiness of analysis. Results: The majority of participants in this study experienced multiple shifts in their contexts and occupations; from a period of general occupational balance to occupational deprivation during the war to redefinition of roles and occupations as refugees in a foreign country. Emerging themes from the data analysis that help describe the occupational adaptation experienced by the participants include: Education in Somalia and Maine, Social supports, Daring to be different, and a Future Orientation. Although these women may not represent the traditional Somali woman, they may be examples of the transitional Somali woman, a woman who is willing to take risks, embracing role and occupational changes in an effort to claim her future while successfully participating in her new community.