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Stress Related to Family Change among Vietnamese Refugees

Patricia G. Fox
Journal of Community Health Nursing
Vol. 8, No. 1 (1991), pp. 45-56
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3427400
Page Count: 12
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Stress Related to Family Change among Vietnamese Refugees
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Abstract

Because life changes have been known to have consequences for emotional and physical well-being, this study demonstrates the need for community health nurses (CHNs) to assess structural and functional changes in Vietnamese refugee spousal relations as possible sources of stress following resettlement. The purpose of this study was to identify changes in the structural and functional dimensions of family life and assess their impact on spousal relations. The major variables considered in effecting change in spousal interactions were relocation, exposure to more liberal attitudes toward gender equality in the United States, and wife employment. Spousal power differentials and affectivity were used as measures of change. Intensive interviews, using a semistructured interview guide, were conducted with 30 Vietnamese refugee women; the sample was nonrandom and cross-sectional. Information was collected on sociodemographic characteristics and pre- and postresettlement spousal relations. Wife employment, associated with proficiency in English and longer length of residence in the U.S., was found to promote more egalitarian spousal relations and greater spousal affectivity. When wives were not employed, they tended to describe an increase in affectivity without an appreciable decrease in spousal power differentials. This effect was enhanced by isolation within the host society as a result of limited English skills, unemployment, and a shorter length of residence.

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