Theses Doctoral

The role of social support among urban migrants in Jordan and Kazakhstan

Meinhart, Melissa Anne

Through conceptualizing migration as a social process, this dissertation examines the role of social support among urban migrants. Existing research examining social support is often framed in North American or European contexts and ignores its connectivity with migration or mobility. There remains critical opportunity for research to examine how social support paradigms function in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and from the perspective of urban migrants, including refugees and economic migrants. By expanding the frame of both migration and social support research, this dissertation endeavors to enrich the empirical knowledge surrounding the role of social support among urban migrants. To accomplish this, this dissertation examines the intersection of trauma, social support, and depression among two urban migrant populations. Through its integration of data from female Syrian refuges in Jordan and male economic migrants in Kazakhstan, this dissertation aims to describe social support, potentially traumatic events (PTEs), and depressive symptomology; identify the direct association of social support and depressive symptomology, and; examine the moderating role of social support on depressive symptomology related to PTEs. This dissertation is guided by the Push-Pull Theory, the Stress-Buffering Hypothesis, and van Brenda’s conceptualization of resilience. Findings from this dissertation suggest that social support plays a critical role, both directly and indirectly, in influencing outcomes of depressive symptomology. Findings have several implications for social support measurement and direct practice of mental health clinicians, as well as informing how community-based interventions and mental-health policies within LMICs can integrate social support within their resiliency frameworks.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2025-03-26.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
El-Bassel, Nabila
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 15, 2020