Project: Research project

Project Details


The study seeks to examine coping strategies, including utilization of
mental health service facilities and alternative help-seeking behaviors,
among recent refugees subject to highly stressful situations. Secondarily,
the study will analyze reactions of the mental health service system to the
crisis situation posed by the massive influx of newcomers of different
language and cultural orientations. The research design is longitudinal
and comparative. It builds on surveys of 1980-81 Cuban and Haitian
refugees in South Florida, interviewed in late 1983. Samples of
approximately five hundred from each group were contacted originally and
have been traced over time in preparation for a 1986 follow-up. The
original survey gathered an extensive data set on individual backgrounds in
countries of origin and various aspects of the early adaptation process.
The proposed study will make use of these data as potential predictors of
subsequent distress, alternative coping strategies, and use of mental
health service facilities to be measured in the second survey. Samples are
representative of each refugee population in the Miami SMSA and environs.
The study will thus be able to offer the first authoritative portrait of
the situation of these newly-arrived groups and their use of the mental
health delivery system. A complementary observational study of the latter
will also be conducted so as to compare individual refugee responses with
reactions of professional staff. Aside from description, the study will
allow tests of extant theories of help-seeking behavior with populations
outside the cultural mainstream of U.S. society and the formulation of
unambiguous causal models, potentially applicable to other immigrant and
refugee groups.
Effective start/end date12/31/8912/31/89


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


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