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Open Access Immigrant and Refugee Social Networks: Determinants and Consequences of Social Support Among Women Newcomers to Canada Les réseaux sociaux des immigrantes et des réfugiées : les déterminants et les conséquences du soutien social chez les femmes nouvellement arrivées au Canada

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Recent immigrants and refugees (newcomers) vary on many dimensions but do share similar challenges. Newcomers must rebuild social networks to obtain needed social support but often face social exclusion because of their race, language, religion, or immigrant status. In addition, most have limited access to personal, social, and community resources. Effects of situational and personal variables on the benefits and limitations associated with the social networks of female newcomers were explored through interviews and focus groups with 87 women from 7 communities. Using thematic analysis, the authors identify 5 sources of informal support across all 7 communities, which were almost exclusively limited to co-ethnic relationships, and the types of support, limitations, and reciprocity within each. Perceived support was strongest from family and close friends and, when support from close relationships was unavailable, from primary care providers. The results suggest that co-ethnic peer support networks may be overwhelmed in newcomer communities because of their limited size and resources.

French
Les immigrants et les réfugiés (nouveaux arrivants) diffèrent sur plusieurs points mais partagent des défis similaires. Les nouveaux arrivants doivent reconstruire des réseaux sociaux pour obtenir le soutien social dont ils ont grandement besoin mais ils doivent souvent affronter l'exclusion sociale en raison de leur race, leur langue, leur religion ou leur statut en tant qu'immigrants. Dans le cadre de cette étude, les auteures ont exploré les effets de variables circonstancielles et personnelles sur les avantages et les limites associées au réseaux sociaux de femmes nouvellement arrivées. Ayant recours à des entrevues et à des groupes de discussion auxquels ont participé 87 femmes de sept communautés, elles ont procédé à une analyse thématique et identifié cinq sources de soutien informel dans les sept communautés, qui étaient presque exclusivement limitées à des relations co-ethniques. Elles ont aussi relevé les types de soutien, les limites et l'élément de réciprocité pour chacune d'entre elles. Selon les perceptions, le plus important soutien reçu était celui de la famille et d'amis proches, et lorsque le soutien d'un proche n'était pas disponible, celui des fournisseurs de soins primaires. Les résultats suggèrent que les réseaux co-ethniques de soutien par des pairs présents dans les communautés de nouveaux arrivants peuvent s'avérer débordés en raison de leur ampleur limitée et du manque de ressources.

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Keywords: IMMIGRANTS; MENTAL HEALTH; REFUGEES; SOCIAL CAPITAL; SOCIAL EXCLUSION; SOCIAL SUPPORT; WOMEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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