Toward a Positive Psychology of Immigrants

Cory L. Cobb, Nyla R. Branscombe, Alan Meca, Seth J Schwartz, Dong Xie, Maria Cecilia Zea, Ludwin E. Molina, Charles R. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The vast majority of immigration-focused research in psychology is rooted in deficit models that center on negative health outcomes (e.g., depression, acculturative stress, anxiety, substance use), resulting in a widely held assumption that immigrants are at greater risk for pathology and poor well-being compared with native-born individuals. Moreover, current political discourse often portrays immigrants as more prone to crime compared with native-born individuals. From a positive-psychology perspective, we argue that, despite numerous migration-related challenges, many immigrant populations report positive patterns of psychological health. We also provide evidence that immigrants are, in fact, less prone to crime than their native-born counterparts. We conclude by discussing several contributing factors that account for positive immigrant well-being across the range of destination countries. Ultimately, the field should address questions regarding (a) immigrants’ strategies for coping with the challenges involved in adapting to new homelands and (b) asset-based factors that help immigrants to thrive during difficult life challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Psychology
Population Groups
Crime
Emigration and Immigration
Health
Anxiety
Depression
Pathology
Research
Population

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • immigrants
  • positive psychology
  • strength
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Cobb, C. L., Branscombe, N. R., Meca, A., Schwartz, S. J., Xie, D., Zea, M. C., ... Martinez, C. R. (2019). Toward a Positive Psychology of Immigrants. Perspectives on Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691619825848

Toward a Positive Psychology of Immigrants. / Cobb, Cory L.; Branscombe, Nyla R.; Meca, Alan; Schwartz, Seth J; Xie, Dong; Zea, Maria Cecilia; Molina, Ludwin E.; Martinez, Charles R.

In: Perspectives on Psychological Science, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cobb, CL, Branscombe, NR, Meca, A, Schwartz, SJ, Xie, D, Zea, MC, Molina, LE & Martinez, CR 2019, 'Toward a Positive Psychology of Immigrants', Perspectives on Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691619825848
Cobb, Cory L. ; Branscombe, Nyla R. ; Meca, Alan ; Schwartz, Seth J ; Xie, Dong ; Zea, Maria Cecilia ; Molina, Ludwin E. ; Martinez, Charles R. / Toward a Positive Psychology of Immigrants. In: Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2019.
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