Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Joanna Ochocka

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Research done with immigrant youth in Canada has been largely focused on educational outcomes. The experiences of Jamiacan immigrant youth in Canada have not been explored in great depth in the literature. Canadian statistics show however that Jamiacan immigrant youth account for the largest grouping of Caribbean immigrant youth in Canada. Other data sources point to the fact that Jamiacan youth are more likely to be criminalized and face added challenges in society because of racial stereotyping. The goal of this thesis therefore was to explore the experiences of Jamiacan immigrant youth in Kitchener and Toronto, Ontario through an investigation of the factors that facilitate and impede their positive outcomes.

This research was based on a qualitative method of inquiry gaining the insights of ten Jamaican immigrant youth and five key informants through in-depth interviews. Data was also collected from nine parents in a focus group. The ecological approach incorporating a risk and resiliency construct provided the framework for the research.

The findings showed that the risk factors impacting the lives of Jamiacan immigrant youth in this study far outweighed the protective factors they experienced. At every sphere of functioning youth were faced with a myriad of factors impeding their success. In addition, the interplay of these factors at the various levels of the ecological framework further added to the challenges of youth’s achievement of positive outcomes. Despite these odds, the majority of youth participants reported experiencing positive outcomes like academic success and social integration.

The exilic experiences of youth supported the need to clearly delineate in teh ecological construct the cultural community as distinct from the wider society. Cultural community for many youth was an important factor in shaping their national identifies and increasing their sense of belonging within the collective. The findings also raised a number of questions that may give some direction for future research. Questions about how culture impacts youth outcome and its role in the development of resilience emerged. Some of these issues were explored in the discussion of the findings.

Convocation Year


Included in

Psychology Commons