Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

School

Human Services

Advisor

Katherine Coule

Abstract

Nigerian women who migrate to the United States are faced with complex social challenges as they acculturate to a new society. Stressful conditions and acculturation experiences may threaten the overall mental health of these immigrant women. The purpose of this study was to explore the acculturation experiences of Nigerian immigrant women living in the United States, identify stressors associated with the process, and highlight the coping strategies they employed. Stress and coping theory provided the theoretical framework for the study and phenomenological inquiry guided the research questions and method. Data were gathered through face-to-face interviews. Content analysis and coding were utilized to find relevant themes. Participants described their immigration experiences as being difficult although they reported their lives are â??much better nowâ??. The women adopted a positive, hard working attitude; relied on their faith in God; and sought mentors and a supportive community. Most participants reported being unaware of the resources available to them and more than half reported not having access to any resources. Participants reported receiving support from their friends, family members, and communities of faith. Research on the acculturative experiences of these women would be useful in developing gender specific programs that would support the integration process and reduce mental health issues that may arise as a result of acculturation stressors. In an advocacy effort towards social change, results from this study may inform service providers of Nigerian immigrant womenâ??s unique cultural needs as they acculturate to living in the United States.

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