Examining Resiliency in Adolescent Refugees Through the Tree of Life Activity


  • Marcella D. Stark Texas Christian University, College of Education
  • Brandy P. Quinn Texas Christian University, College of Education
  • Katharine A. Hennessey Texas Christian University, College of Education
  • Amanda A. Rutledge Texas Christian University, College of Education
  • Allison K. Hunter Texas Christian University, College of Education
  • Paola K. Gordillo Texas Christian University, College of Education




resiliency, developmental assets, Tree of Life, adolescent, refugees


Grounded in both resiliency science and positive youth development, the research team set out to understand the strengths and resources of adolescent refugees living in northeast Texas. In coordination with a local refugee services agency, members of the research team conducted the Tree of Life activity with 16 participants ranging in age from 13 to 20 years. Identifying 16 codes in the qualitative analyses of participants’ drawings, they organized these codes into 3 themes: self-efficacy, values, and relationships. The authors recommend the use of Tree of Life and other creative arts activities to facilitate the discovery of strengths and resources in adolescent refugees, by which they may progress beyond survival of adversity to resiliency and thriving.

Author Biographies

Marcella D. Stark, Texas Christian University, College of Education

Associate Professor, Education

Brandy P. Quinn, Texas Christian University, College of Education

Assistant Professor, Education


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