Date of Award

Fall 2021


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in Critical GIS and Public Anthropology


Anthropology and Geography


The plight of loneliness has caused devastation to many social and cultural groups’ well-being. Scholars have analyzed and documented its adverse health such as suicide (Stravynski and Boyer 2001), Alzheimer’s disease (Wilson et al. 2007), depression (Erzen and Çikrikci 2018), immune system complications (Hawkley and Cacioppo 2003), and cardiovascular complications (Hawley and Cacioppo 2003). Some compare its health impacts to smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Health Resources and Services Administration 2019), while others emphasize how loneliness compels people to internet addiction (Ayas and Horzum 2013) and alcohol abuse (Åkerlind and Hörnquist 1992). Among the most susceptible populations to loneliness are first-generation immigrants (Djundeva and Ellwardt 2010; Koelet and de Valk 2016), who often experience cultural alienation (Baolian 2006; Safipour et al. 2011). This thesis examined first-generation Slavic immigrants who have had a long history Inland Northwest. Social network theory and a phenomenological approach guided my question formation and qualitative data collection methods. I used participant observation, informal interviews, semi-structured interviews, and case studies to explore how loneliness was experienced. I specifically looked at sociometric variables like the context of reception, socioeconomic status, perceived discrimination, duration of stay, age, marital status, and gender in relation to social networks and loneliness. A unique identity was formed and became a central focus for this project. The significant findings showed how the context of departure, time of arrival, and ethnicity formed a Slavic-Christian identity and allowed its communities to flourish. Ultimately, Spokane’s first-generation Slavic immigrants were not significantly lonely and overcame loneliness using their strong social networks and shared identity. Future quantitative research and Russian language proficiency are needed to better understand first-generation Slavic immigrant loneliness among first-generation Slavic Christians and non-Christian populations.