The psychological experience of second-generation Somalis whose parents were forced to migrate during the civil war in the '90s

Prof Doc Thesis

Kumaga, R. 2023. The psychological experience of second-generation Somalis whose parents were forced to migrate during the civil war in the '90s. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsKumaga, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

In the 1990s, millions of Somali families were forced by a civil war to leave their homes. Over the years, other refugee communities have been researched by scholars in light of intergenerational trauma (Sangalang & Vang, 2017). Second-generation Somali psychological experiences are multi-layered and not reduced to a directional process of intergenerational trauma because their lived experiences are also situated in the post-colonial world. This study explores the psychological experience by including psychological distress experienced and strengths displayed by second-generation Somalis whose parents were forced to migrate to the United Kingdom during the conflict. Understanding the psychological needs of the second-generation in forced migration supports the move away from the individualised model to the historical and familial context. The study adopts a constructivist epistemology and Africana phenomenological approach and uses interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 2009) to reveal the psychological experience. There are four superordinate themes in this study, which include: emotional responses to the forced migration background of parents, ‘flipping hats’ the emotional depth of racism and belonging, ‘hush and silence’ hiding the self and strength and togetherness despite the rift across the community. The second-generation Somalis’ psychological experience is intersubjective. This study reveals the dynamic process of the second-generation sense of self while relating to and experiencing the oppression and suffering of their parents'. This study aims to contribute to the field of applied psychology and counselling psychology by elucidating the subjective experience of second-generation Somalis in order to inform theory and practice regarding this specific population. The study’s findings also contribute new information to the debate on the future generations of refugee families and mental health to develop appropriate community services for their needs.

KeywordsSomalia; Forced Migration; psychosocial factors; second-generations; parental-child relations; intergenerational patterns; psychological wellbeing
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online27 Sep 2023
Publication process dates
Completed23 Jan 2023
Deposited27 Sep 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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