Coping with stress: A refugee's story

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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)
Title of host publicationRefugee Women and Their Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationShattered Societies, Shattered Lives
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135837600
ISBN (Print)9781560243724
StatePublished - May 13 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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