Exploring the relationship between psychological symptoms and ethnic connectedness among the New York Metropolitan Area Haitian community to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

Samuel Jeannite, Pace University

Abstract

The 2010 Haitian earthquake resulted in many casualties, mass relocation, and worsened the quality of life for many Haitians already dealing with poverty. Haitians who were living abroad experienced the tragedy through the media and rallied to send aid to friends and family. The goal of this research study was to determine whether Haitian connectedness among Haitians living in the United States was associated with increased symptoms of secondary traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression as a result of the earthquake. Haitian connectedness was measured through questionnaires designed to capture aspects of transnational relationships along with levels of ethnic identity and acculturation. Participants for this study were Haitians recruited through various churches and community organizations within the New York Metropolitan Area. There were 105 participants (women = 57.1%; men= 42.9%) aged 19 to 83 in the final analytic sample. While the overall analyses mostly did not support hypotheses, the results indicated that first generation immigrants from Haiti reported more secondary traumatic stress but not more symptoms of anxiety and depression than Haitian Americans who were born in the United States It also became apparent that the participant's age of immigration to the United States was positively associated with symptoms of secondary traumatic stress. An unplanned exploratory analysis indicated an indirect relationship between age of immigration to the United States and symptoms of depression and anxiety through the mechanism of secondary traumatic stress. The results demonstrate that many Haitians living in the United States continue to have important connections and familial obligations to those back in Haiti. These connections can be a source of empowerment but can also be a source of psychological stress, especially when unexpected tragedies occur. Clinical implications for these findings are discussed.^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Samuel Jeannite, "Exploring the relationship between psychological symptoms and ethnic connectedness among the New York Metropolitan Area Haitian community to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti" (January 1, 2015). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3664500.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3664500

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