Risk & Resilience Research | Somali Youth Longitudinal Study


Immigrant groups today are experiencing unprecedented levels of discrimination and marginalization. For Somali young adults, these experiences may be linked to their race, religion, ethnicity, or migration status. Some of these experiences are linked to violence.

Since the early 2000s, researchers at the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center (RTRC) at Boston Children’s Hospital have engaged in a collaborative partnership to conduct the Somali Youth Longitudinal Study. Initially focused on addressing concerns in the Somali community around youth violence, the study has broadened to adopt a life-course perspective in order to examine experiences of discrimination, risk and resilience factors, and their relationship to health outcomes.

Our ultimate goal continues to be working with community partners, our greatest assets, to identify community resources that can help strengthen social bonds and build capacity, allowing community members themselves to become knowledgeable, skillful and respected partners in addressing the challenges of discrimination and marginalization associated with race, religion, and immigration status. As of 2019 we have completed our 4th wave of data collection.

Policy Brief:



Meet the Team

Investigators: Dr. Heidi Ellis (Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School); Saida Abdi (Boston Children’s Hospital/Boston University);John Horgan (UMass Lowell); Alisa Lincoln (Northeastern University); Jessica Stern (Harvard School of Public Health)

Resources related to addressing violent extremism:

Find Out More

For additional information, please contact the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center:

Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center
Boston Children’s Hospital
21 Autumn St, 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02115

Email address: rtrc@childrens.harvard.edu

Phone number: 617-919-4630


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National Institute of Justice