Coping with stress: A refugee’s story

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13 Scopus citations


Le is a married 35 year old South Vietnamese refugee who works two jobs to support her three children and elderly relatives. The family of eight was one of many boat people whose journey to freedom involved prolonged stress as they left their home secretly and withstood the deprivation of a refugee camp for more than a year before being chosen by a sponsor to relocate in the U.S. Ten years later, Le proudly recites the new responsibilities she has acquired through this transition which have profoundly affected her roles as an employee, mother, and wife. Her story reveals several key elements which hold theoretical significance for the study of successful coping. She refers often to the salience of family values learned early in her life, and the importance of adhering to these during the most stressful periods. She lists several attitudes that helped her maintain hope and focus on her goals during the most difficult times. And, she describes a variety of supportive networks that were developed at different stages of the refugee experience that contributed to a successful transition. These elements clarify the interwoven effects of predisposing factors, coping, and social support on psychological functioning, and imply parameters that clinicians may find helpful in working with a refugee population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalWomen and Therapy
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)


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