Community context matters: Acculturation and underemployment of Russian-speaking refugees

Andrey Vinokurov, Edison J. Trickett, Dina Birman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The study investigated underemployment among a sample of Russian-speaking refugee adults in the U.S. resettled in two communities that differ in ethnic density. Community context, acculturation, and their interaction related to underemployment. Descriptively, residents of the dense ethnic community had higher Russian and lower American acculturation, greater social integration into co-ethnic networks, lower perceived support from American friends, were more likely to have fellow Russians help them find a job, and less likely to find the job independently. Predictively, living in the dense community and lower levels of American acculturation positively associated with underemployment, while Russian acculturation was unrelated to underemployment. In addition, significant interactions suggested that American acculturation was beneficial for reducing underemployment in the dispersed community but was associated with increased underemployment in the dense community, while greater Russian acculturation was associated with increased underemployment in the dispersed community only. The present study demonstrated context specificity in the relationship between acculturation and underemployment and reaffirmed the value of an ecological approach to conceptualizing acculturative experiences and their relationships to adaptation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Acculturation
  • Ecological model
  • Ethnic community
  • Refugees
  • Russian-speaking immigrants
  • Underemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science


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