Welcoming: The development of sense of community post-migration in a secluded northern American city


This study aimed to identify what contributes to immigrants’ and refugees’ psychological sense of community (PSOC) in a secluded northern American city with a very diverse and growing foreign-born population. Ten focus groups were conducted with 50 immigrants and refugees from more than 20 countries who had lived in the community for 1 to 40 years. Team-based reflexive thematic analysis was used to explore the development and maintenance of PSOC. While PSOC took time to develop, social networks catalyzed its formation. The process was quicker for younger immigrants who became more socially embedded due to the community resources they readily accessed. Equitable access to a wide array of high-quality community resources promoted PSOC. Diversity and belonging were critical for membership and the development of a shared emotional connection. Opportunities to contribute and influence the community maintained and strengthened PSOC, as did the community’s social and ecological climates. Therefore, a variety of community initiatives across ecological levels may foster PSOC among newcomers.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v10i1p109

Keywords: Immigration; resettlement; context of reception; welcoming; psychological sense of community; qualitative.


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