Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

'Not Giving Up on Life': A Holistic Exploration of Resilience among a Sample of Immigrant Canadian Women

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

'Not Giving Up on Life': A Holistic Exploration of Resilience among a Sample of Immigrant Canadian Women

Article excerpt


We explored the experiences of immigrant women and their journeys before and after coming to Canada and focused on their resilience in overcoming challenges faced during their resettlement process. Considering the many challenges recent immigrant women encountered during their settlement and the associated potential for negative impact, it was important to focus on how the participants withstood adversity and demonstrated resilience. Qualitative methodology made use of repeated in-depth person-centered interviews (n=14) with five women who recently migrated to Canada under immigrant status (other than refugee). Thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data set. Three major themes emerged from the data: Life before Canada; A journey of compound stressors; and Resilience: Not giving up on life. The study extends the literature on immigrants' resilience in two ways. First, the study moved beyond an exploration of post-migration experience and considered women's lives before and after migration to render a more holistic understanding of their resilience. Second, the study examined how resilience was constituted among the women within their spousal-dyads, and their families. To understand an immigrant woman's resilience is also to understand her life prior to arrival in Canada, the resilience of her marriage and that of her family. Finally, suggestions for future research are also addressed in this study.


Nous etudions les experiences d'immigrees et leur cheminement avant et apres leur arrivee au Canada, tout en mettant l'accent sur leur resilience alors qu'elles ont du faire face a d'enormes defis au cours de leur relocalisation. Les immigrees recentes ont ete confrontees a un grand nombre de ces defis lors de leur installation et au risque d'impact negatif qui y est lie. Il etait important d'en tenir compte en se concentrant sur la maniere dont les participantes ont surmonte l'adversite et montre leur force de resistance. Nous nous sommes servis d'une methodologie qualitative comprenant des entrevues (n= 14) centrees sur la personne et faites en profondeur avec cinq immigrees recentes au Canada qui avaient le statut d'immigrantes (autres que refugiees). Nous avons soumis l'ensemble des donnees qualitatives a une analyse thematique. Ces donnees ont fait ressortir trois themes dominants, soit : la vie avant de venir au Canada, un voyage soumis a des conditions stressantes et la resilience, a savoir tenir quoiqu'il arrive. Notre etude elargit de deux manieres la documentation sur cette force de resistance chez les immigres. Tout d'abord, elle va au-dela de l'exploration de l'experience post-migratoire et prend en consideration la vie de ces femmes avant et apres leur migration afin de permettre une comprehension plus holistique de leur resilience. Ensuite, elle examine comment ces femmes ont acquis cette derniere au sein de leur couple et de leur famille. Comprendre la resilience d'immigrees, c'est aussi apprehender leur vie avant leur arrivee au Canada, la solidite de leur mariage et la force de resistance de leur famille. Enfin, nous avons aussi suggere des recherches a venir.


Immigration to Canada in recent decades has led to a rise in the number of foreign-born populations. The number of woman immigrants is also increasing steadily. In 2009, Canada welcomed a total of 105,964 women from all over the world (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2009); of them, 60% arrived as economic class immigrants and 26% as family class. Though immigration brings prosperity, the experience of resettlement to a new country is not simply a matter of adapting to a new culture. Changes in economic, social, and physical environments have a major impact on an individual's overall quality of life, health, and the resettlement process (Casado et al. 2012; Khan and Watson 2005; Schmitz et al. 2003). However, many immigrant women withstand these adversities and demonstrate resilience. …

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