Acculturation and Adaptation Revisited

Culture contact and change have attracted widespread attention in the international arena, and research with immigrants, sojourners, and refugees has flourished over the past two decades. Despite the burgeoning literature on acculturation, cumulative and substantive programs of psychological research are rare, and the integration and synthesis of the massive and expanding literature on cross-cultural transition and adjustment have been largely neglected. A major exception to this, however, is found in the work on acculturation and adaptation by John Berry and associates. The research employed a new and recently developed instrument to examine the two dimensions (host and co-national identification) and four modes (integration, separation, marginalization, and assimilation) of acculturation and their relationship to sojourner adjustment. International aid workers in Nepal completed a questionnaire including the Acculturation Index and the assessments of psychological and sociocultural adjustment. Analyses revealed that strong co-national identification predicted enhanced psychological well-being, whereas strong host national identification was associated with better sociocultural adaptation. Acculturation styles were also related to adjustive outcomes. Sojourners who adopted an integrated style fared better psychologically than others, whereas those who assumed an assimilationist perspective experienced fewer social difficulties. The article highlights methodological issues pertaining to the measurement of acculturation and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the use of categorical versus continuous data and mean comparisons versus correlational techniques in the analysis of the relationship among identification, acculturation, and sojourner adjustment.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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