Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Rural Mental Health 44:3 (July 2020), pp 170-183.



Copyright © 2020 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


Perceived social support has been correlated with refugees’ positive mental health outcomes; yet, little is known about the perceived sources of support after secondary migration to new-destination rural towns. Somali refugee men (n _ 49) residing in a rural Midwest United States community were recruited using respondent-driven sampling to complete a self-administered structured survey in English or Somali using audio computer-assisted self-interview software. Questions assessed perceived sources of support, psychological distress, and happiness. Somali participants reported low utilization of both informal (30.4%) and formal (24.4%) supports when sad, stressed, or worried. Two thirds of participants reported low levels of distress and 98% reported being happy or very happy. This exploratory research contributes to understandings of Somali men’s perceived support in a postsecondary migration setting. We discuss implications for social support interventions and culturally tailored assessment, diagnoses, and treatment to enhance Somalis’ support and psychological well-being.