Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


Immigrants lose their unique psychosocial context when their experiences are subsumed under panethnic labels such as Hispanic, Latina/o, Asian, or African. 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 functioning. Transition theory and social constructionism theory were used as the theoretical lens for this study. Data were collected using semistructured interviews conducted with seven Kenyan men and women over the age of 18 from the 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 from the Kenyan immigrants’ perspective.

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