Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Jason Campbell

Second Advisor

Neil Katz


coping, family, parenting, refugee, resilience, war


This study focuses on experiences of refugee parents who have experienced war and displacement. There is a lack of academic research in the area of parenting and war, and this study hopes to begin to fill that gap. Research that is based on personal experiences is the ultimate guide to forming policy and programs that meet real needs. This study employed Grounded Theory methodology and in-depth interviewing to explore the questions of how parents manage to meet their own needs, the needs of their children, and overall cope with the experiences of war and displacement. Through intense analysis of interviews (employing Grounded Theory methods of coding, categorizing, and theory development), a theory was generated that identified key processes that participants underwent throughout their war-related experiences. This study’s employment of Constant Comparative Analysis of the data resulted in a substantive theory: the Theory of Maintaining a Strong Commitment to Parenting Principles Enables Parents to Parent Effectively Throughout the War Experience. This emergent theory states that having a strong sense of what it is to be a “good parent” guides parents’ actions and decision-making throughout the difficult war experience. It also entails the development of parenting principles during childhood, and using these to maneuver through the challenges of the active war experience and the resulting experiences of displacement and resettlement. To explore these aspects and others, it is recommended that further qualitative research be conducted into the experience of parenting and war for a larger population of resettled refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced persons.