Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Hillary N. Fouts

Committee Members

Carin Neitzel, Denise C. Bates

Abstract

Residential crowding has been shown to negatively impact child socio-emotional development and behaviors. The current study explores residential crowding and positive social and distress behaviors of Burundian refugee children, aged 3 months-35 months, through naturalistic observations and interviews. Residential crowding was measured in three ways: the ratio of people per rooms in households, the number of people present during observations, and parents’ perceptions of crowding. Qualitative parent perceptions of crowding and conceptualizations of crowding were obtained through interviews. The results showed that child behaviors were not predicted by the ratio of people per rooms or the number of people present during observations. Rather, parent perceptions of crowding predicted the positive social behavior of children. Qualitative results showed that Burundian refugees conceptualize homes as crowded when non-family members are present and associate crowding with space constriction. This study expands the research on refugee children and indicates that Burundian parent perceptions of crowding predict child behaviors.

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