Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Nursing

Supervisor

Cheryl Forchuk

Abstract

There has been growing interest in migration and refugee research; the vulnerability of Syrian refugee women and how they adapt to their host communities. However, there is limited evidence regarding the pre- and post-migration trauma and its impacts on the health of Syrian refugee women in the Canadian context. The purposes of this critical ethnography using intersectional perspectives were: (1) to explore and describe Syrian refugee women’s experiences and meanings of pre- and post-migration trauma and its impact on their health in the context of repeated displacement and migration from their homes and families; (2) to critically examine how the intersection of gender, trauma, and contextual factors (e.g., social and cultural norms, policies, and economic factors) of Syrian refugee women shapes their everyday lives and health; and (3) to understand gender roles, dynamics, and cultural and contextual factors among Syrian refugee women across different periods, starting from the civil war period to the post-migration period in Canada. Data collection occurred over six months through online, synchronous, and in-depth individual interviews. Data drew upon a sample of 25 Syrian refugee women in southwestern Ontario. This research used intersectionality as a theoretical lens, where trauma, empowerment, marginalization, and forced migration concepts were thoroughly integrated into the dissertation. Data analysis, an iterative process, was used to identify and describe relevant themes, relationships, and power relations through the participants’ representations of their lives and experiences. Overall, the findings suggest that previous trauma, sociocultural factors, and the conceptualizations of Syrian refugee women’s health and health-care system must be recognized. This recognition may assist in developing culturally informed and gender-sensitive interventions for this population in post-migration contexts. In addition, there is an urgent need to find creative solutions and strategies for the pressing issues of the lengthy wait time in the emergency department, for specialist appointments, and the cost of dental care to meet Syrian refugee women’s physical and mental health needs. Finally, nurses in practice and research need to be actively involved in the collaborative and creative strategies that are necessary for change in the current health-care system and services provided to Syrian refugees.

Summary for Lay Audience

This dissertation aims at exploring and describing the pre- and post-migration experiences of Syrian refugee women in Ontario, Canada, and the impacts on their physical and mental health. This study examines how the intersection of gender, trauma, and contextual factors (e.g., social and cultural norms, policies, and economic factors) of Syrian refugee women shapes their everyday lives and health. The study also explores gender roles, dynamics, and different contextual factors among Syrian refugee women across different periods, starting from the civil war period to Canada’s post-migration period. Overall, the findings suggest that previous trauma, sociocultural factors, and the Syrian refugee women’s health are essential to modify current health practices for this population in a Canadian context. In addition, there is an urgent need to find creative health-care models and strategies to meet Syrian refugee women’s physical and mental health needs.

Available for download on Monday, May 01, 2023

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