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Immigration journey: a holistic exploration of pre- and post-migration life stories in a sample of Canadian immigrant women

Ruksana Rashid (PhD Student, based at University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
David Gregory (Professor and Dean, based at University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Abdie Kazemipur (Professor, based at University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada)
Lynn Scruby (Assistant Professor, based at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 29 November 2013




In this study, the life experiences of Canadian non-refugee immigrant women were studied to understand their pre-migration lives, the process of decision making about migrating to Canada, and their experiences after resettlement in Canada.


A qualitative methodology involving repeated in-depth person-centred interviewing (n=14) engaged five recent Canadian immigrant women. “Word of mouth” was used to recruit participants. Thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data set.


Loneliness became manifest given the loss of social networks and support systems immigrant women enjoyed in their home countries. Second, the presence of young children and absence of job opportunities for these women had them spending most of their time at home. Third, in some cases, the lack of professional employment opportunities forced the husband leaving Canada to find jobs – resulting in a deeper level of loneliness experienced by the immigrant women. Loneliness and isolation, and mental health issues associated with such isolation are potentially substantial, especially during the initial settlement years.

Research limitations/implications

Given the small sample size, the generalizability of the study findings are limited and cannot represent the entirety of experiences of all Canadian immigrant women. The sample diversity in this study was also limited. The participants were highly educated and had professional careers in their home countries. The experience of less educated women can be different. Further research with a large sample size and diverse sample is needed.

Practical implications

The study offers deeper insights to the day-to-day challenges associated with the journey of migration. Understanding these concerns is important for mental health professionals, counsellors, and social service workers to offer effective treatment, counselling, and emotional support for immigrant women.


The findings further the understanding of immigrant women's experiences and the need to address relational aspects of their immigration journeys. Examining the experiences of immigrants in relation to their lives before and after coming to Canada is important to gain insight about the contemporary daily lives of individuals. A holistic understanding of immigration experiences can assist service providers, professionals, and policy makers to recognize the obstacles faced by immigrants. Suggestions for future research are also addressed in this study.



Partial funding for this study was provided by Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Education Fund, Alberta.


Rashid, R., Gregory, D., Kazemipur, A. and Scruby, L. (2013), "Immigration journey: a holistic exploration of pre- and post-migration life stories in a sample of Canadian immigrant women", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 189-202.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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