Sociology ETDs

Publication Date



This study (N=168) builds on a long lineage of scholarly work connecting social networks to mental health by exploring relationships between refugee social network compositions—network size, proportion of same sex ties, proportion of same community ties, and role heterogeneity—and self-reported symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. This study finds that newly resettled refugee social networks are small and social isolation is common; approximately 30% of participants reported having no local social network ties. For refugees with local social network ties, the composition of social networks does appear to matter. Having more same sex ties was negatively associated with higher mental health symptoms while having more role heterogeneity was positively associated with higher mental health symptoms. Refugees level of exposure to trauma and income satisfaction were also significantly related to increased mental health symptoms. Qualitative interview data contextualizes and expands on quantitative findings and suggests that refugees have important social relationships with distant family and friends and begin to build relationships within their local communities that can address problems with isolation and mental health disparities.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Goodkind, Jessica

Second Committee Member

Soller, Brian

Third Committee Member

Barker, Kristin


social networks, refugees, mental health, sociology, mixed methods



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