Bhutanese Refugee Adolescents' Academic Adjustment: The Role of Acculturation and Familial Social Capital

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Neda MOINOLMOLKI, University of Delaware, USA
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) there are approximately 51.2 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of conflict, persecution, generalized violence, or human rights violations; the highest recorded level since WW11. Half of which are children under the age of 18, who have lived in limbo for years with very little formal school education. Education, along with the appropriate approaches in educating resettled refugee populations, have become a main area of concern as well as controversy within the field. There is still much uncertainty surrounding best practices within host nations, especially in regards to acculturation and its relationship to academic achievement within newly incoming non-European immigrant populations. The current study has attempted to add to the existing literature, by examining the relationship between recently resettled  Bhutanese refugee youths’ acculturation as well as  familial social capital factors on their academic adjustment. Moreover, the study had further attempted to examine if there is a  potential additive relationship between familial social capital and academic adjustment, over and above the effects of acculturation. The sample consisted of 119 Bhutanese refugee adolescents between the ages of 11-22 residing in a Mid-Atlantic community within the US. A hierarchical multiple regression suggested that years in the US, parent education, ethnic identity, and familial social capital all were positively related to Bhutanese adolescents’ school adjustment; however, when familial social capital was added to the model the relationship between ethnic identity and academic achievement became insignificant, indicating that the relationship of familial social capital is a significant additive predictor of academic achievement over and above ethnic identity. This study highlights the importance of familial social capital factors, above acculturation identity, in predicting Bhutanese Refugees’ academic adjustment upon resettlement. Important implications for practice and research will be discussed.