Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Gretchen Bergquist, Jordan Soliz, Kristen Everhart, Lee Kreimer, & Dawn O. Braithwaite, 2017. Investigating Layers of Identity and Identity Gaps in Refugee Resettlement Experiences in the Midwestern United States. Poster presentation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Fair, April 4-5, 2017.


Copyright (c) 2017 Gretchen Bergquist, Jordan Soliz, Kristen Everhart, Lee Kreimer, & Dawn O. Braithwaite.


Post-migration, refugees experience changes within personal and community relationships that have dramatic effects on their sense of self and, in turn, well-being.

§ During resettlement, refugees are forced to reconceptualize identity as they encounter and integrate into a new host country and culture.

§ Tensions emerge when integrating one’s self-concept into a web of new personal and social networks while simultaneously managing and adapting to larger social norms and public attitudes in the host country.

§ The epicenter of tensions and experiences that create turbulence in the lives of refugees is the negotiation and reconceptualization of identity within relationships and across communities.

Four multiple, shifting, interdependent layers of identity simultaneously construct the overall sense of self.

§ Incongruence can emerge between layers, generating an identity gap.

§ How refugees experience layers of identity provides the foundation for identifying and understanding potential identity-related tensions that likely play a role in negative psychosocial outcomes during resettlement.