Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Susan Speraw

Committee Members

Janet Witucki-Brown, Sadie P. Hutson, Denise R. Bates


Though the United States has become a place of increasing resettlement for refugees, particularly Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee their homeland due to violence, persecution and civil unrest, little is known about Iraqi refugee resettlement in the United States, or the way in which resettlement impacts health and adjustment. A grounded theory study was conducted to develop a substantive theory of Iraqi refugee resettlement. Participants in the qualitative study included 29 Iraqi refugees and 2 community partners who participated in face-to face interviews. Data analysis and interpretation revealed fundamental concepts related to Iraqi refugee resettlement. Results of analysis showed that for Iraqis choosing to resettle here, the outcome is dichotomous: satisfaction or regret. The outcome is influenced by contextual factors as well as facilitating and hindering intervening conditions during the basic social process of resettlement transition. Each refugee’s story is unique, yet all share common threads. This study allowed Iraqi refugees the opportunity to voice their personal experiences of resettling in America, and revealed life stories that inspire and illuminate a process that can guide health care delivery as they cope with the stresses of their journey. As a result, an in-depth storyline was established to explain the process of resettlement for Iraqi refugees. The development of this resettlement theory, grounded in Iraqi refugee experience, has the potential to guide nursing education, enhance the efficacy of practice, inform policy development and form the basis for research.

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