Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Language Acquisition, and Self-Sufficiency: A Study of Bosnian Refugees

Kenneth Corvo, Jaia Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Summary: This non-experimental study was undertaken in order to explore the nature of the relationship between mental health status, English language acquisition, and economic self-sufficiency among recent Bosnian refugees. The subjects (N = 34) were Bosnian refugees recruited from a Catholic refugee resettlement program in the Syracuse area of central New York. Findings: Though no correlation was found among the hypothesized variable relationships, serious trauma-related symptoms were identified in about one-third of refugees. Although no empirical link was identified between trauma-related symptoms and self-sufficiency, the incidence of those symptoms is a cause for concern. Frequently indicated symptoms included sleep disturbance, loneliness, and hopelessness about the future. Applications: From our findings, we can only consider these issues as mental health or quality of life concerns, not as barriers to self-sufficiency. Independently of this study’s lack of support for the latter, these quality of life concerns per se are deserving of attention. Given the regional labor shortage at the time of the study, it is possible that economic self-sufficiency may be more problematic in other periods and places

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-219
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • acculturation
  • mental health
  • refugees
  • self-sufficiency
  • symptoms
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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