Aging Out of Place: Quality of Life and Successful Aging Among Aging Refugee Immigrants in the US
Owino, Jonix Atieno
More InformationShow full item record
As individuals age, they experience physical, cognitive, and socioemotional changes that may impact their well-being. However, little is known about well-being among aging refugees. Thus, the present study explores factors associated with quality of life and perceptions of successful aging among refugees who are aged 50 years and above. This mixed methods dissertation included a quantitative and qualitative study. For the quantitative study, 108 refugee participants (from Bhutan, Burundi, and Somalia) living in the US were surveyed to assess quality of life. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that females, older individuals, individuals with lower education levels, and African refugees reported lower quality of life. When controlling for sociodemographic factors, social integration was positively and loneliness was negatively associated with quality of life. Furthermore, trauma related experiences and post-migration living difficulties did not predict well-being for all participants; however, moderating effects of place of origin, sex, level of education and length of residence were observed. Twenty-one aging, Burundian refugees were recruited for the qualitative study to explore perceptions and experiences of successful aging. Emergent themes showed that some of aging refugees’ perceptions of successful aging were consistent with perceptions among other aging populations, yet in many ways the unique background of aging refugees seemed to impact their aging perceptions, such as perceiving an earlier onset of aging. Cultural factors and the context of being a refugee led to unique experiences of successful aging, and apparent gender differences. In summary, perceptions of aging out of place among aging refugees indicated both protective factors and risk factors. The findings from the two studies of this dissertation suggest important future directions of inquiry and have potential implications for communities on how they can better support aging refugees as well as develop effective interventions to promote well-being.