Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Hillary, N, Fouts

Committee Members

Carin L. Neitzel, Elizabeth I. Johnson


Post-migration contexts often provide many challenges for refugee families’ integration into a host society such as language barriers, mental and physical illness, social and community relationships (Berry, 2001; Daud, 2008; Weine, 2011). Traumatic life events, loss, and depression have all been shown to negatively impact parenting (Daud, Skoglund, & Rydelius; Diener, Nievar, & Wright, 2003, Evans, 2006; Garmezy, 1987). These environmental and emotional factors often prevent parents from providing adequate care. Not only does the quality of parenting affect children’s social-emotional development, many contextual factors such as family SES, social supports, and neighborhood have also been shown to impact social-emotional development (Klebanov, Brooks-Gunn, & Duncan, 1994; Shaw & Vondra, 1995; Werner & Smith, 2001). The purpose of this research is to identify the role that maternal responsiveness plays in children’s social-emotional and attachment behaviors while considering the availability of social support from extended kin as caregivers in Knoxville’s Burundian refugee population. This thesis provides analysis of observational and interview data from 21 individuals about maternal responsiveness and sensitivity behaviors, child attachment behaviors and maternal perceptions of social support.

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