Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Yan Ruth Xia, Ph.D.

Date of this Version


Document Type



Eller, Kari F, “The Trail of Courage: A Mini-Ethnographic Case Study Exploring the Feasibility and Acceptability of Integrated Equine-Assisted Therapy (IEAT) on Yazidi Adolescent Girl Wellbeing” (2019).


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Child, Youth & Family Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Yan Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2019

Copyright 2019 Kari F. Eller


In 2018, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who captured the attention of the world with her story of survival from the combatant and abusive hands of ISIS. Murad used her voice to speak out against wartime sexual assault and in doing so, has supported the wellbeing of women and girls around the world. A Goodwill Ambassador, her example and work has visibilized their trail of courage and lifted up the importance of work to support their wellbeing. This research, in albeit a very small way, seeks to follow Murad’s path. Though literature abounds on the concept of wellbeing, there is a dearth in literature on wellbeing from the Yazidi perspective. Through a rigorous secondary analysis of program data, this mini-ethnographic case study contributes a rich understanding of wellbeing according from the Yazidi adolescent girl perspective, identifies protective factors supporting their resilience, and evaluates the feasibility and acceptability of the Integrated Equine-Assisted Therapy (IEAT) framework. Results from this study have implications for the practice of and policy surrounding equine therapy as well as complementary support services for Yazidi adolescents in the United States and abroad. Additionally, findings may serve to further the knowledge base on Yazidi adolescent wellbeing and on the use of IEAT in work with Yazidi and other adolescent survivors of trauma.

Adviser: Yan Xia