Jem Powell


This study examined experiences with immigration and being immigrants in the United States for 1 mother-daughter family unit. Given the challenges of navigating acculturation, this study aimed to broaden the scope of current research to understand linked individual and family experiences of immigration with an emphasis on resiliency and meaning-making. A qualitative research design was used to complete 1 family interview and 2 individual interviews of an immigrant family who had scored high on psychological wellbeing. The focus of this study was to illuminate ways that immigrants make meaning from and make sense of their immigration-related experience, as well as the strengths and resiliencies that they bring and that emerge. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore and illuminate experiences and meanings in a manner not previously done within this population. Themes of Cautious Optimism, Belonging, Lifting as We Climb, Finding Meaning in Struggle, and Self-Care and Emotional Support emerged. This study addresses a salient gap in literature regarding family and individual experience of immigration by providing insight into intergenerational issues within the context of resilience and meaning-making.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Immigrants -- United States -- Psychology; Hispanic Americans -- Mental health; Well-being -- Cross cultural studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly P.;