Dissertation Title:

Mexican Males who have Entered the United States Illegally: A Phenomenological Study of their Lived Experience


Patricia Ayala-Guzman

Date, Time & Place:

April 5, 2021 at 4:00 pm


The needs of Latino immigrants represent a dearth of literature in the mental health profession (Corrigan et al., 2017). The results of trauma are noted to possibly impact individuals well into adulthood (Garcini et al., 2018; Zayas et al., 2017). In this study, the researcher explored the lived experience of Mexican men 40 to 60 years of age, who illegally immigrated to the United States between the ages of 10 and 15. The researcher collected data through individual semistructured interviews from each participant. Four major themes emerged, which included (a) Experiencing fear, disorientation and helplessness while crossing the border; (b) Experiencing isolation and loneliness the first years in the United States; (c) Experiencing poverty and hardship; and (d) Continuing to struggle with the effects of trauma. The implications for practice include that the provision of free, accessible, competent advice on attaining legal residency status may remove a primary barrier to male Mexican immigrants’ integration and acculturation in the United States, which may enable them to become productive and prosperous members of their U.S. communities.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, A, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Avedis Panajian
  • Reader: Dr. Christine Lewis
  • External Reader: Dr. Edward Rounds
  • Keywords: Latino Mental Health, Latino Immigration, Latino Immigration And Mental Health