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“You Have to be Resilient”: A Qualitative Study Exploring Advice Newcomer Youth Have for Other Newcomer Youth
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal  (IF1.862),  Pub Date : 2022-01-09, DOI: 10.1007/s10560-021-00807-3
Smith, Alexandra C. G., Crooks, Claire V., Baker, Linda

Research infrequently includes the perspectives of vulnerable and marginalized youth. As the population of newcomer youth in Canada continues to grow, it is imperative that attention is devoted not only to challenges they experience, but also to resilience factors they perceive to support their adjustment and well-being. To address this gap, this qualitative research explored newcomer youths’ experiences and advice for other newcomer youth who have recently arrived in Canada. Thirty-seven newcomer youth from two medium-sized cities in Ontario participated in focus groups. Participants ranged from 14 to 22 in age and identified mostly as female refugees from the Middle East. Through thematic analysis, five overarching themes were found across groups: (1) moving to a new country is hard, (2) maintain a healthy mindset, (3) take an active role in the adjustment process, (4) stay true to who you are, (5) and you are not alone. Youth described hardships that make moving to a new country difficult including lack of belonging due to racism and bullying, insufficient orientation to new systems, language barriers, and high levels of stress. Findings demonstrated youths’ resilience, coping skills, and strategies to lead meaningful lives. Youth discussed resilience strategies such as maintaining a connection with home culture and religion, reframing thinking to be positive, receiving emotional support, accessing community support at newcomer agencies, and building language proficiency. Findings provide implications for professionals working with newcomer youth and reflect the importance of addressing structural barriers and racism. The opportunity for newcomer youth to share experiences as experts in research may also help to promote resilience.