Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tracey Phillips


Immigrants lose their unique psychosocial context when their experiences are subsumed under pan ethnic labels such as Hispanics, Latina/o, Asians or Africans. The stress from navigating different cultural contexts becomes problematic when immigrants operate within mainstream cultural norms that are in conflict with their traditional values. The number of Kenyan immigrants to the United States has steadily increased since the 1980s. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to study the lived experience of Kenyan immigrants by focusing on their integration experience and how the integration processes may have affected their mental health. Very few studies center on the psychological impact of the integration processes on Africans, while even fewer studies focus on Kenyans. The results of the study could be used by helping professionals to assist Kenyan immigrants with mental health problems as well as policy makers on immigration issues in both Kenya and the United States. Future Kenyan immigrants to the United States can also use this information as they prepare to migrate. The transition theory and social constructionism theory were used as the theoretical lens for this study. Data were collected using semi structured interviews conducted with 7 Kenyan men and women over the age of 18 from Northeastern United States who had immigrated from 1996 to the present day. Coding was used to analyze the data by cross-case analysis to search for themes and patterns. Data analysis revealed discrimination, alienation, shame, overcompensation, and cultural shock among other issues faced by immigrants, but from the Kenyan immigrants' perspective.