Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

Factors Related to Educational Resilience Among Sudanese Unaccompanied Minors


by Meenal Rana , Desirée Baolian Qin , Laura Bates, Tom Luster & Andrew Saltarelli — 2011

Background/Context: Educational resilience is defined as having successful outcomes in school despite the adversities one has faced in life. There is a dearth of research on a particularly high-risk group—unaccompanied refugee minors who are separated from their parents by war and lack the protection and advocacy provided by adult caretakers.

Purpose: This qualitative study explores the factors associated with educational resilience among unaccompanied Sudanese refugee youth who experienced extreme trauma and chronic adversity prior to being placed with American foster families in 2000–2001.

Setting: The setting includes Lansing and neighboring communities in Michigan.

Participants: Nineteen Sudanese refugees (mean age—15 years at the time of resettlement; gender—17 males, 2 females) who had been placed in a foster care program for unaccompanied refugee minors in the United States participated in the retrospective interviews. We interviewed 20 parents from 15 families, including five couples, 3 married mothers interviewed alone, 2 single fathers, and 5 single mothers.

Research Design: The study used a qualitative research design by using open ended semistructured interviews in which the participants were comfortable speaking about their experiences, yet the researchers were able to follow the interview protocol. With the assistance of the resettlement agency (Lutheran Social Services of Michigan), we sampled for diversity in the foster families to obtain a sample of youth who were exposed to diverse families and circumstances. With the help of foster parents and the assistance of a Sudanese cultural consultant, we recruited at least one youth from each of these families, with the exception of two families.

Data Analysis: The transcribed interviews were coded thematically. A three-step coding procedure was used: open, axial, and selective coding.

Findings: All youth in our study came to the United States with “education” as their primary goal. Many youth had a desire to help those left in Africa and to rebuild Sudan. All the youth interviewed had achieved at least a high school diploma, and all but three had either completed or were enrolled in higher education. Personal attributes, relationships, and community support/opportunities helped the youth in overcoming the challenges that they faced in terms of educational attainment in the United States.

Conclusions/Recommendations: This study confirmed the important roles of parents, teachers, and school counselors in educational success for at-risk youth. The challenges noted by the youth and their foster parents provided useful information for possible changes in policy that could enhance their success.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Factors Related to Educational Resilience Among Sudanese Unaccompanied Minors
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $20 is available for a limited time.
$20
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$145


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 9, 2011, p. 2080-2114
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16187, Date Accessed: 10/21/2014 11:08:45 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Meenal Rana
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    MEENAL RANA is a doctoral student in child development at Michigan State University. Meenal is also a research assistant at Community Evaluation Research Collaborative at University Outreach and Engagement, MSU. Her research focuses on ethnoreligious identity formation and parent socialization practices of Sikh immigrants from India. She has also worked with immigrant Chinese youth as a part of her research training. Her most recent publications include: Luster, T., Saltarelli, A. J., Rana, M., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Burdick, K., & Baird, D. (2009). The experiences of Sudanese unaccompanied minors in foster care. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 386–395; Luster, T., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Johnson, D., & Rana, M. (2009). The Lost Boys of Sudan: Coping with ambiguous loss and separation from parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79, 203–211; and Qin, D. B., Way, N. & Rana, M. (2008). The “model minority” and their discontent: Examining peer discrimination and harassment of Chinese American immigrant youth. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 121, 27–42.
  • Desirée Baolian Qin
    Michigan State University
    DESIRÉE BAOLIAN QIN is assistant professor of human development at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on psychosocial adjustment of children and adolescents from immigrant families. Her most recent publications include: Qin, D. B. (2009). Gendered processes of adaptation: Understanding parent-child relations in Chinese immigrant families. Sex Roles, 60, 467–481; and Qin, D. B. (2009). Being “good” or being “popular”: Gender and ethnic identity negotiations of Chinese immigrant adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24, 37–66.
  • Laura Bates
    Michigan State University
    LAURA BATES, a research assistant at University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University, is a specialist in translating research to policy and has managed qualitative components of several research and evaluation projects, including the study of Sudanese refugee youth. Her research interests include resilience among vulnerable youth and promoting the use of research data in developing policy and practice. Her recent publications include: Luster, T., Saltarelli, A. J., Rana, M., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Burdick, K., & Baird, D. (2009). The experiences of Sudanese unaccompanied minors in foster care. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 386–395; Luster, T., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Johnson, D., & Rana, M. (2009). The Lost Boys of Sudan: Coping with ambiguous loss and separation from parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79, 203–211; Luster, T., Qin, D. B. Bates, L., Johnson, D., & Rana, M. (2008). The Lost Boys of Sudan: Ambiguous loss, the search for family, and re-establishing relationships with family members. Family Relations, 57, 444–456.
  • Tom Luster
    Michigan State University
    TOM LUSTER, who passed away in March, 2009, was a professor in the Department of Family and Child Ecology at Michigan State University and project leader of the 8-year study of Sudanese refugee youth. His passion for the most vulnerable children led him to study resilience and positive developmental outcomes among diverse groups, including adolescent mothers and their children, Japanese youth, and especially among the Sudanese youth known as the “Lost Boys” of Sudan. Dr. Luster’s work, disseminated in respected scholarly journals such as Child Development, changed the way we understand development and achievement among diverse groups of children. His recent work included: Luster, T., Saltarelli, A.J., Rana, M., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Burdick, K., & Baird, D. (2009). The experiences of Sudanese unaccompanied minors in foster care. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 386–395; Luster, T., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Johnson, D., & Rana, M. (2009). The Lost Boys of Sudan: Coping with ambiguous loss and separation from parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79, 203–211; and Luster, T., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Johnson, D., & Rana, M. (2008). The Lost Boys of Sudan: Ambiguous loss, the search for family, and re-establishing relationships with family members. Family Relations, 57, 444–456.
  • Andrew Saltarelli
    Michigan State University
    ANDREW SALTARELLI is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at Michigan State University. His research interests lie at the intersection of development and technology with regard to learning. Specifically, Andrew is interested in how the ever-increasing use of mediated technology is changing foundational developmental elements such as cognition, psychosocial development, and social interaction. His recent work includes: Luster, T., Saltarelli, A.J., Rana, M., Qin, D. B., Bates, L., Burdick, K., & Baird, D. (2009). The experiences of Sudanese unaccompanied minors in foster care. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 386-395.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS