Factors Arising During Acculturation

Acculturation strategies, coping strategies, and the social support show significant influences on individual’s adaptation. Following Berry (1997), we can describe four acculturation strategies: assimilation, separation, integration, and marginalization. From the point of view of nondominant groups, when individuals do not wish to maintain their cultural identity and seek daily interaction with other cultures, the assimilation strategy is defined. In contrast, when individuals place a value on holding on to their original culture and at the same time wish to avoid interaction with other groups, then the separation alternative is noted. When there is an interest in maintaining one’s original culture while in daily interactions with other groups, integration is the option. Finally, if individuals vacillate between their original culture and the host culture, identifying with neither, nor for that matter being accepted in either, then marginalization is identified.

Related to acculturation strategies are the coping strategies. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) have identified two major coping strategies: problem-focused coping (attempting to change or solve the problem) and emotion-focused coping (attempting to regulate the emotions associated with the problem). Social support is another important factor linked to individual’s psychological adaptation. For some, links with conationals are associated with lower stress (Ward and Kennedy 1993); for others, links to the members of the society of settlement are more helpful (Berry and Kostovcik 1990). In addition, how long a person has been experiencing acculturation strongly affects the kind and extent of problems experienced (Ward et al. 2001).

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