Acculturation and adjustment of elderly émigrés from the former Soviet Union: A life domains perspective

Ana G. Genkova, Edison J. Trickett, Dina Birman, Andrey Vinokurov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Former Soviet émigrés in the United States are on average older than other immigrant groups, with adults over 65 comprising a large portion of the Russian-speaking population. Despite known risks associated with old-age migration, however, researchers and providers have underestimated adjustment difficulties for Russian-speaking elderly in U.S. These older adults tend to acquire a new culture with difficulty and remain highly oriented towards their heritage culture. However, limited research examines how acculturation to both the culture of origin and the host culture contributes to wellbeing for this immigrant group. This study assesses the adaptive value of host and heritage acculturation across several domains in the lives of older émigrés from the former Soviet Union resettled in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas in the United States. Acculturation level with respect to both host and heritage culture was measured with the Language, Identity, and Behavior Scale (LIB; Birman & Trickett, 2001) and used to predict psychological, family, social, and medical care adjustment outcomes. Results suggest that acculturation to the host or heritage culture has different functions depending on life domain. Particularly, high American acculturation contributed to better adjustment in the psychological, family, and social domains. Heritage acculturation was associated with better outcomes in the social domain and had mixed effects for psychological adjustment. Theoretical implications highlight the importance of evaluating multiple life domains of adapting through a bilinear acculturation model for the understudied population of elderly immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalPsychosocial Intervention
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Elderly
  • Immigrants
  • Life domains
  • Refugees
  • Émigré s

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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