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Objective:  To construct a model on the consequences of political violence for refugee families based upon a qualitative investigation.

Methods:  This study used a grounded-theory approach to analyze qualitative evidence from the CAFES multi-family support and education groups with Bosnian refugee families in Chicago. Textual coding and analysis was conducted using ATLAS/ti for Windows.

Results:  A grounded-theory model of Family Consequences of Refugee Trauma (FAMCORT) was constructed that describes Displaced Families of War across four realms of family life: (1) changes in family roles and obligations, (2) changes in family memories and communications, (3) changes in family relationships with other family members; and (4) changes in family connections with the ethnic community and nation state. In each realm, the model also specifies family strategies, called Families Rebuilding Lives, for managing those consequences.

Conclusions:  Political violence leads to changes in multiple dimensions of family life and also to strategies for managing those changes. Qualitative family research is useful in better understanding refugee families and in helping them through family-oriented mental health services.