Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



Current demographic estimates indicate that the foreign-born population makes up about 13% (40 million) of the total U.S. population. This number consists of immigrants from all over the world, with a larger majority originating from Latin America and Asia. Research in the area of immigrant adaptation is robust and compelling; however, it is replete with studies on immigrants from the cultural regions identified above, and not as much on other regions with relatively less numerical representation, specifically Africa. From this region, Nigerian individuals and families make up a larger portion of this immigrant group. This study employs a qualitative research method to explore the adaptation processes of Nigerian immigrant parents and their children. Participant parents (N=30) and their children (N=15) were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Interview topics included acculturation inclinations; participants’ perspectives of differences and similarities of raising children in the U.S and in Nigeria; influences of American culture on participants’ parenting; cultural adjustments that have been made; intergenerational conflicts; language issues and cultural identity. A grounded theory method was used for data collection and analysis, after which the following themes emerged: (1) Acculturation: “I could pick some good from Nigeria and some good from here, and blend it together.” (2). Respect: “A child just walks by you and doesn’t acknowledge that you exist. That is very un-African.” (3) Raising kids alone: “Nobody helps you; you are all by yourself.” (4) Education: “If you want to become somebody, you have to go to school, education is the first key.” (5) Discipline: “Freedom to train my child the way I ought to, not the way society is trying to compel me to train my child.” (6) Language: “I had to explain myself over and over.” (7) Bi-cultural children: “But I am Nigerian mom.” Participants’ narratives provide insight into immigrant families’ unique adaptation process of integrating and re-defining culture-of-origin predispositions within a new socio-cultural ecology. The significance of findings, implications for practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.



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Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Marks, Loren



Included in

Social Work Commons