Master's Project Title:

Marriage Among Somali and Oromo Refugee Youth and its Effect During Resettlement

MCH Student:

Emily Wang

Date of Defense:

June 2011


Due to a significant amount of torture and trauma experienced by Somali and Oromo refugee youth within their country of origin, Somali and Oromo refugee youth are at a higher risk for social and psychological problems. However, there are many contributing factors that may affect the resiliency of Somali and Oromo youth, one of these factors being the social networks that they are a part of. Since marriage is typically a significant social relationship in an individual’s life but has been found to have a negative effect among youth, marriage was further examined among Somali and Oromo refugee youth in order to determine its effect on several outcomes.

This study is a secondary data analysis of cross-sectional data addressing the association between marriage and various outcomes among Somali and Oromo refugee youth (n=207). The specific aim was to explore the effect that marriage had on perceived social support, mental health status, utilization of coping strategies, and current employment and education status. Findings from the study revealed that marriage had a negative effect on utilization of coping strategies, employment status and attainment of a high school education, but had no effect on perceived social support and mental health status. Public health professionals may be able to use the findings of this study to better design and implement interventions that can assist Somali and Oromo refugee youth in coping with previous torture and trauma and to provide the highest quality of care for Somali and Oromo refugee youth living in the United States.