Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Ashley Hagaman

Second Advisor

Danya Keene


Introduction: Refugee families can face particularly multifaceted challenges during their transition to the U.S. There is currently little research on the experience of parenting during Afghan refugees’ transitions to the U.S. This study seeks to better understand these individuals’ experiences of parenting and their descriptions of their children’s transitions to the U.S. in the context of the greater New Haven area.

Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis on interview data with 19 recently-arrived Afghan refugee parents based in the greater New Haven area; 10 fathers and 9 mothers were interviewed from August 2019 to January 2020. We used thematic analysis to group codes into larger themes relevant to the research question, ultimately informing the results of this study.

Results: In families’ adjustments to their new home in the U.S., children faced particular challenges related to homesickness, language, and culture, while parents encountered a variety of lingering concerns related to parenting within the new American context. The U.S. resource landscape proved to provide support to both children and parents during the transition. Healthcare and education played especially salient roles in easing the transition for families, serving specifically as potential parenting resources for parents.

Discussion: Generally, it seems that children undergo a necessary initial adjustment period marked by homesickness, language difficulties, and cultural barriers. However, for parents and children alike, numerous challenges during this transition were buffered or improved by the plethora and higher quality of resources in the U.S. At the same time, parenting in the midst of the cultural change proved challenging, exemplified by parental worries surrounding excessive cultural assimilation of their children and a lack of knowledge surrounding U.S. norms.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access