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Abstract

The Rohingya have a long history of persecution in Myanmar. Those who have escaped from their homeland are relatively safe, but continue to suffer different hardships as refugees. Resilience is the positive adaptation to past extreme stress and adversity, making it an interesting topic of research for Chicago’s Rohingya population. The purpose of my research was to determine whether or not adolescent Rohingya refugees who have settled in Chicago have similar resilience as their non-refugee peers. Resilience was measured by using a quantitative approach in the form of a survey and a qualitative method in the form of interviews. The adolescent Rohingya refugees of the Rohingya Culture Center boys’ soccer team demonstrated that they were equally as resilient as their non-refugee soccer-playing peers, and also exhibited many positive traits of resilience, like self-reliance, optimism, and confidence. Since research has shown that resilience is a malleable trait, a strength-based approach can be adopted to boost resilience at the individual and community levels. This preliminary study provides important information about how trauma-exposed adolescent Rohingya refugees in Chicago might develop robust resilience by playing on a sports team and belonging to the Rohingya Culture Center. A broader application of this research would be to cultivate refugee-specific strategies to help future adolescent refugee populations resettling in Chicago.

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