Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


School Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Rosemary Mennuti, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Stella Francis


In the past decade, African continent have experienced multiple armed conflicts which have sparked a rapid exodus of refugees seeking asylum (temporary protection) in the United State and other Western countries. In recent years, United State has become the preferred country for Africans who seek temporary protection due to wars and other conflicts in their homeland. This study is an attempt to document degree of adjustment difficulties experienced by refugee children upon acceptance by host country and enrolled into the schools. To further understand the adjustment processes of the refugee children, an archival data from Community Outreach Agency that provides services for refugee population from West Africans were reviewed. The data contained information from a structured interview questionnaires filled out by refugee children during intake processes. Pearson Correlation was used to determine whether relationships exist between the variables. Frequency distribution percentages, and cross-tabulation tables were used to show what refugee children were reporting as their experiences in the community and school. The findings from this study showed that majority of the refugee children experienced great amount of academic and acculturative stressors; war-related trauma, mental health symptoms as a result of war-related trauma. Despite these experiences, majority of the refugee children have positive school experience mostly with the teachers but not so with peers. Most negative school experiences were as result of poor social adjustment and personal interactions with other children. The refugee children have ways to cope with stressors relying mainly on activities available to them. For examples, church, playing outside, music and visiting family members. Significant correlations vi were found between war trauma and trauma symptoms. Low correlation was found between school stressors and previous war experiences.