Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jonathan S. Gore

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Sara Incera

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Myra Beth Bundy

Department Affiliation



This study examines Swahili-speaking refugees’ feelings of inclusion and exclusion through focus group interviews. We hypothesized that language, tangible aid, and social interactions would be related to feelings of inclusion and exclusion in the host society. We also examined demographic moderators of these associations. The 9 refugees, all first generation, who participated were from 3 different countries (DRC, Kenya, and South Sudan). There were 3 males and 6 females between the ages of 18 and 28. Findings indicate that experiences related to social interactions were cited most frequently as causes of feeling included or excluded. Individual interactions were more likely to be associated with exclusion, while organizational interactions were more commonly connected to inclusion. Additionally, significant correlations were found among participants that were older and felt included at work through social interactions in an individual context, and among participants who moved to the US at a younger age and felt included at work through social interactions in an organizational context.