In recent decades, the primary theoretical approach in immigrant and refugee mental health research has been a trauma-centered, medical model (Ryan, Dooley, & Benson, 2008). Additionally, the limited research that has been conducted has largely examined the experiences of South and Central American and Asian immigrants; a paucity of literature exists on the mental health of Armenian immigrants. In line with the recent movement in the field towards examining the optimal conditions and characteristics that promote well-being in people and communities, the purpose of this study was to give voice to the strengths and virtues that Armenian immigrants and refugees possess that enable them to thrive in the face of adversity in order to gain a greater understanding of the strengths in this community. Qualitative data were gathered via semi-structured interviews, and findings were examined in the context of existing literature related to immigrant and refugee mental health and well-being. Major themes that emerged from the data included: pre-immigration character strengths, immigration-related challenges, emergent and expanded strengths, empowerment through sharing stories, and culturally-rooted processes. Overall, the results indicated that the migration process for Armenian immigrants and refugees is multidimensional and modulated by stressors, character strengths, and communal resources. Potential contributions of this study include broadening the field's understanding of the immigration experiences of Armenian immigrants and refugees, as well as affirming the value of qualitative inquiry as an important methodology in psychological research through which the lived experience of diverse people can be represented.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Immigrants -- Armenia; Immigrants -- Mental health

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly P.;