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Escape from Harm’s Way: The Experiences of Southeast Asian Elders and their Families

Author(s): Daniel F. Detzner | Aysem R. Senyurekli | Zha Blong Xiong

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Hmong Americans | Hmong Studies | Asian American Studies | Elders | Mental Health

This study uses a life history approach to understand the lived experiences of 40 Southeast Asian elderly refugees who fled from their home countries and resettled in the United States in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The focus is concentrated on the elders’ narratives of escape. Their experiences are consolidated into motivational elements leading to flight; six dichotomous dimensions of the leave taking; and complicating factors affecting the escape. The results indicate that escapes: (a) are motivated by a multiplicity of overlapping factors; (b) appear to have an impact on health after resettlement; and (c) are complex events where the same generational cohort fleeing from the same conflict, during the same time period, may arrive in the same destination with very different levels of distress. This study aims to develop a framework for understanding the escape narratives of elderly refugees as a way to understand the nature and sources of individual, family, and community distress that often hinders successful integration of refugee populations.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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