College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


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Department/Program Conferring Degree



Psychological sense of community, refugees, immigrants, survivors


Survivors of torture do not merely overcome the challenges posed by torture in order to develop a psychological sense of community among each other. Participants in this study used the understanding of torture and the unequivocal condemnation of it as a boundary within which they could develop connections with others. Among those who share this value, members influenced each other‘s new narratives about what it means to have been tortured, and about what it means to become survivors. This influence toward survivorship filled an important psychological need. The new narrative and the fulfilled needs also became the basis for the emotional bonds that strengthened the connections of individuals to the community. This insight helps us understand how the elements of the psychological sense of community can complement one another in working together. It clarifies how communities can aid in the recovery of those who have been significantly injured by torture.