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The Personal Social Networks of Resettled Bhutanese Refugees During Pregnancy in the United States: A Social Network Analysis

  • Diana M. Kingsbury
  • Madhav P. Bhatta
  • Brian Castellani
  • Aruna Khanal
  • Eric Jefferis
  • Jeffery S. Hallam
Original Paper

Abstract

Women comprise 50% of the refugee population, 25% of whom are of reproductive age. Female refugees are at risk for experiencing significant hardships associated with the refugee experience, including after resettlement. For refugee women, the strength of their personal social networks can play an important role in mitigating the stress of resettlement and can be an influential source of support during specific health events, such as pregnancy. A personal social network analysis was conducted among 45 resettled Bhutanese refugee women who had given birth within the past 2 years in the Akron Metropolitan Area of Northeast Ohio. Data were collected using in-depth interviews conducted in Nepali over a 6-month period in 2016. Size, demographic characteristics of ties, frequency of communication, length of relationship, and strength of connection were the social network measures used to describe the personal networks of participants. A qualitative analysis was also conducted to assess what matters were commonly discussed within networks and how supportive participants perceived their networks to be. Overall, participants reported an average of 3 close personal connections during their pregnancy. The networks were comprised primarily of female family members whom the participant knew prior to resettlement in the U.S. Participants reported their networks as “very close” and perceived their connections to be supportive of them during their pregnancies. These results may be used to guide future research, as well as public health programming, that seeks to improve the pregnancy experiences of resettled refugee women.

Keywords

Refugees Maternal and child health Social network analysis Social support Community health 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana M. Kingsbury
    • 1
    • 3
  • Madhav P. Bhatta
    • 1
  • Brian Castellani
    • 2
  • Aruna Khanal
    • 1
  • Eric Jefferis
    • 1
  • Jeffery S. Hallam
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Public HealthKent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyKent State UniversityAshtabulaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family & Community MedicineNortheast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)RootstownUSA

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