A Life Domains Perspective on Acculturation and Psychological Adjustment: A Study of Refugees from the Former Soviet Union

Dina Birman, Corrina D. Simon, Wing Yi Chan, Nellie Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study articulates a contextual approach to research on acculturation of immigrants, suggesting that the relationship between acculturation and adjustment is dependent on the cultural demands of the life domains considered. Specifically, the study investigated the mediating effects of adjustment in occupational and social life domains on the relationship between acculturation and psychological adjustment for 391 refugees from the former Soviet Union. The study used bilinear measures of acculturation to the host (American) and heritage (Russian) cultures. Using Structural Equation Modeling, the study confirmed the hypothesized relationships, such that the positive effects of American acculturation on psychological adjustment were mediated by occupational adjustment, and the effects of Russian acculturation on psychological adjustment were mediated by satisfaction with co-ethnic social support. Psychological adjustment was measured in two ways, as psychological well-being, using a measure of life satisfaction, and as symptoms of depression and anxiety, using the Hopkins symptom checklist (HSCL). Life satisfaction served as a mediator between adjustment in occupational and social domains and HSCL, suggesting that it may be an intervening variable through which environmental stress associated with immigration contributes to the development of symptoms of mental disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume53
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • Immigrants
  • Life domains
  • Life satisfaction
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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