Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




War and its consequences have led many people around the globe to flee their homelands to find refuge in another country. People who leave their homelands frequently experience culture shock due to the differences between their own and the new culture. The purpose of this narrative study was to: (a) understand the acculturation to Canada of adult Arab refugees who had been exposed to collective violence in their countries of origin, and (b) identify the challenges faced by adult Arab refugees story tellers as they try to create a new identity in the Canadian context. A purposive sample of 12 Arab refugees, aged 31 to 60, was recruited. All of the interviews were conducted in a dialogical and reflexive manner face-to-face and audio taped. The interview questions were designed to elicit refugees’ stories regarding their experience of adapting to their new culture in spite of the collective violence they lived through and understand the influence of collective violence on refugees’ acculturation to Canada. Thematic data analysis involved three stages: coding, categorizing, and identification of themes. Findings revealed that all of the refugees who were forced to adapt to Canada experienced culture shock. Further, refugees faced many barriers when they tried to build a new identity in Canada. Implications for nursing practice, research, education, adult educators, and government are also discussed.

Key Words: refugees, culture shock, acculturation, loss, needs, emotional disturbance, social determinants of health.