Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Welfare

First Advisor's Name

Miriam Potocky

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mario De La Rosa

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Richard Beaulaurier

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Markus Thiel

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Edward Alessi

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


suicide, suicidality, LGBTQ, refugee, asylee, asylum, complex trauma, CPTSD

Date of Defense



In a global context where attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers as well as LGBTQ human rights are becoming increasingly virulent, LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers are at an increased risk for a number of mental health problems, including suicidal ideation and attempts. While evidence has shown high prevalence of suicidality among refugees and LGBTQ people separately, no studies have specifically examined this phenomenon among those who are members of both groups – that is, LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is to explore factors related to the experiences distress, trauma, and suicidality among LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. Utilizing a theoretical framework combining cumulative disadvantage theory, the minority stress model, and queer migration theory, a secondary qualitative analysis was conducted of interviews with 26 LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. and Canada. Thematic analysis was applied to understand the experiences of trauma, distress, and suicidality among LGBTQ refugees and asylees. The results of this study indicated three themes related trauma, distress, and suicidality: internal and interpersonal supports, secondary exposure to trauma, and retraumatization. The findings are discussed in light of the theoretical framework and the concepts of secondary exposure to trauma and retraumatization. Finally, the study’s limitations as implications for social work and recommendations for future research are presented.



Included in

Social Work Commons



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