School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Jason K. Ward


Haitian Immigrants, Immigration trauma


Social and Behavioral Sciences


The topic of this writer’s dissertation is immigration-related trauma among Haitians, barriers to treatment, and the role of faith in creating resiliency. The purpose of this qualitative push and pull hermeneutic phenomenological study is to understand the lived experiences of people who have immigrated to the United States (US). To better understand these lived experiences, it is imperative to also examine the experiences of Haitian immigrants from the gateway countries of Brazil, Chile, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. It is known that a number of Haitians have entered the US directly (legally or illegally) and a great many entered by way of the above gateway countries. As we will later see these countries throughout their histories have adopted laws that welcomed Haitians and later repealed those same laws, creating mass deportations. Through these deportations, many Haitians have undertaken dangerous journeys into the US. This study will evaluate effective treatment in addressing the multidimensional needs of this population, including barriers to treatment and the role the church or religious community can play in creating resiliency amongst this population. Study participants engaged through in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore the lived experiences of these immigrant Haitians. The interviews assessed for possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis or reported symptoms of PTSD as part of participants’ lived experiences. Two sampling methods were utilized: purposeful sampling and snowball sampling. The data analysis method used was the Colaizzi’s method of data analysis, as it requires participants to validate findings to ensure they are accurate and credible.