Images of God, Resilience and the Imaginary: A Study among Vietnamese Immigrants Who Have Experienced Loss

Title: Images of God, Resilience and the Imaginary: A Study among Vietnamese Immigrants Who Have Experienced Loss
Authors: Nguyen, Thanh Tu
Date: 2014-06-24
Abstract: Abstract This study examines the relationships between God image, resilience and the imaginary category in the face of loss among Vietnamese immigrants living in Canada. In earlier literature little attention was paid to the role of spiritual components in their struggle, and in their search for resources to become resilient. Furthermore, the use of Western measurements to examine the constructs of God Image, of loss, and of resilience yielded inconsistent results because of cultural differences. The current study therefore adopted Object Relations Theory, together with Durand’s Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary; these two culturally sensitive theoretical approaches suggested that higher level of Positive God Image and the synthetic category of the imaginary would be related to better health and psychological outcomes across cultures. With these two theories as ground, the central purpose of the present research is to examine the following questions: 1) Is God image associated with emotional distress? 2) Is God image related to resilience? 3) Does God image associate with the individual’s imaginary categories? 4) Is there a relationship between the imaginary categories and level of distress? To answer these research questions, a mixed method using quantitative and qualitative approaches with three phases was adopted. In the first phase, 129 participants completed five questionnaires: a demographic questionnaire, a Questionnaire on God Image (QGI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). In the second phase, 32 willing participants out of this 129 took the AT.9 test (an archetypal test with nine elements). In this test, participants are asked to draw, using nine symbolic elements, and then write a story based on their drawing. In the last phase, a phenomenological approach was used to conduct a qualitative interview with eight persons. Results showed that a positive perception of God negatively correlated with somatization, anxiety and hostility; a positive God image was positively associated with resilience, whereas negative God image was significantly related to high levels of emotional distress. Results also showed that the synthetic categories of the imaginary were associated with a positive perception of God; and were negatively associated with somatization, intrusion and hyper-vigilance. The study suggested that the Vietnamese immigrants whose God Images reflected love, comfort, protection, and trust had higher scores on resilience, and lower scores on somatization, anxiety and hostility. The participants’ drawings and their storytelling in the AT.9 and the qualitative interview provided a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between God image and resilience in the face of adversity among Vietnamese immigrants living in Canada. The discussions on the main findings with a special focus on cultural gaps will address various implications for theory, research and clinical practice along with recommendations for future research in the field of Counselling and Spirituality.
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
Nguyen_ThanhTu_2014_Thesis.pdfDoctoral Thesis5.81 MBAdobe PDFOpen