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An Investigation of the Communal and Individual Resilience of Immigrant Women in New Zealand

Some immigrant women face triple discrimination due to their, gender, ethnicity and immigrant status. The voices of immigrant women are absent from literature on immigration, furthermore the experience of immigrant women are omitted as prominent literature largely presents the male immigration experience. In addition, immigrant women have been pathologised as much of the psychological literature views them through a deficit perspective, affirming that immigrant women are at risk of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. This research adopts a strengths perspective in order to investigate resilience of immigrant women in New Zealand. This research explores the communal and individual resilience of immigrant women using a feminist qualitative framework. The women were interviewed by means of semi-structured, in depth interviews and the data was analysed by means of thematic analysis in order to report the experiences, meanings and realities of immigrant women’s lives. The analysis revealed that collective roles such as the role of mother, “co-madre”, the benevolent woman, the breadwinner and the role of spirituality and religious beliefs contributed to the resilience of immigrant women. It was also found that individual constructs such as individual spirituality, the emergence into a contemporary paradigm that allowed women to break free from traditional life, as well as the establishment of identities of independence and empowerment aided women’s resilience. The findings highlighted the complex and contradictory nature of immigrant women’s stories presenting a challenge to the pathology discourse of immigrant women evident in the literature and within society.
Type of thesis
Okuyama, L. (2014). An Investigation of the Communal and Individual Resilience of Immigrant Women in New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8652
University of Waikato
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