Attending to Context for the Health and Wellness of Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Friday, July 15, 2011: 1:45 PM

C. Susana Caxaj, RN, BScN
School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify complex and intersecting factors influencing newcomer youth's sense of belonging.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to name policy/practice changes that can address discrimination to improve newcomer youths' sense of wellness.

Responsive nursing approaches, sensitive to the nuanced and contextualized experiences of immigrant and refugee youth, are essential to a globalizing world. These newcomer youths experience unique and complex challenges in their daily lives. These experiences are inextricable from their sense of wellness and belonging. Using a post-colonial and intersectional lens, this research sought to understand the political context in which newcomer youths work towards a sense of wellness and belonging. A textual analysis of transcripts from another study as well as written entries in blogs and other electronic forums revealed that intersecting oppressive forces of discrimination profoundly shaped these youths’ experiences. Further, the youths in the study reported engaging in diverse forms of resistance in constructing alternate identities and safe spaces to build a sense of belonging. This study contributes to the growing field of newcomer youth health and provides important implications for local and national policies shaping their health contexts. Further, it provides insight into the ways in which global discourses seep into local contexts and ultimately shape the ways in which newcomer youth experience and perceive a sense of inclusion and exclusion. Examining these contexts at both the micro, meso and macro levels can enable more comprehensive health care planning and foster nursing-client partnerships entrenched in the everyday social realities of individuals.