2.0 ACCULTURATION AND IMMIGRATION:
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES
Kenneth L. Dion
University of Toronto
This chapter presents three major theoretical traditions from social psychology that provide important and complementary perspectives for better understanding immigration and the acculturation of immigrants. As shown below, the term 'acculturation' is neither synonymous with, nor equivalent to, 'assimilation.' Rather, at the psychological level, acculturation refers to changes and consequences for the individual that arise when s/he comes into continuous contact with another culture. Acculturation, of course, inevitably arises whenever an immigrant, refugee, or sojourner migrates to another country for temporary or permanent habitation. The topic of acculturation is integral to understanding immigration. The three social psychological perspectives presented below are: (1) models of acculturation, (2) the intergroup relations approach, and (3) the social psychology of language. Each of these perspectives reflects, in good measure, the creative theorizing and research contributions by social psychologists in Canada. Taken together, they constitute a formidable and distinctly Canadian contribution to the international effort to understand immigration. To date, however, the three approaches have generally not been brought or considered together with regard to the issue of immigration. Rather, they have largely existed as separate literatures within social psychology. Further, the social psychology of bilingualism has not usually been thought of in connection with immigration issues, though it is clearly relevant, since language is obviously pivotal to the acculturation of immigrants and their adaptation to a new society. Perhaps the principal contribution of this paper is to bring these theoretical perspectives together for mutual consideration vis-à-vis one another and to begin to exploit their creative synergy for thinking about immigration.
The focus on broad theoretical perspectives regarding acculturation of immigrants is important for several reasons. In social psychology, theories often serve the crucial role of organizing what would otherwise be an inchoate mass of disparate findings into a coherent and meaningful body of knowledge. Equally if not more important, theories are heuristic devices for generating new research and promoting further understanding. Nor are theories impractical. Indeed, to quote Kurt Lewin, a famous pioneer of social psychology: "There is nothing as practical as a good theory." A good theory, by definition, provides insight and understanding -- essential qualities for all who are concerned with immigration.
While theories are indisputably one important "starting point" for scientific analysis, measurement techniques are equally indispensable for (a) assessing the theoretical constructs of interest and (b) testing a theory fairly and meaningfully. The test of a theory is only as good as the measurement procedures and techniques deployed to reflect concretely the theoretical constructs of interest. Choosing one measurement procedure over another itself reflects important theoretical assumptions and implications. Thus, one's measurement approach influences not only how well a theory is tested but also which theory is actually tested. Due to its importance in scientific investigation, the advantages and disadvantages of different measures and approaches to assessing acculturation are also considered in depth and detail.
Let us now consider the first perspective: viz., models of acculturation. In this first section, acculturation models and measures of psychological acculturation are considered. This section highlights the important contributions of John Berry, a social and cross-cultural psychologist at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Berry's model of acculturation outlines four different options for immigrants as regards the orientations they may adopt toward their host and heritage cultures, respectively. These acculturation attitudes or orientations relate to important criteria such as psychological adjustment.
2.1. Models of Acculturation
The term 'assimilation' refers to the process of adopting the customs, behaviours, and/or national or collective identity of the host society in preference to, or in place of, those from one's country of origin. Specifically, the concept of assimilation implies that the collective identity, customs, and behaviours acquired in the host society replace those from one's country of origin.
American sociologist Milton Gordon (1971) proposed a classic, conceptual model of assimilation in American society that has been influential among immigration scholars and researchers. It is also a useful framework for thinking about the different types or forms of acculturation that arise when a person emigrates to another country, as well as the order in which these different forms of acculturation may unfold.
2.1.1. Gordon's Assimilation Model
Gordon's (1971) model or paradigm of assimilation described seven "variables" or types of assimilation in order to: (a) analyze the assimilation process in a pluralistic society such as the United States or Canada with reference to different "goal systems" or "ideal types," such as the "melting pot," cultural pluralism, or adaptation to a core society and culture, and (b) compare different racial, ethnic, religious, and immigrant groups as regards the nature and extent of their incorporation into the society. The model can also be employed as a conceptual framework for devising measures to assess individual differences among members of a given group in regard to different types of assimilation in a given society (e.g., see Wong & Cochrane, 1989).
The seven types of assimilation, with alternate labels (when available) in parentheses and definitions in square brackets, are: (1) cultural or behavioural assimilation (also known as acculturation) [adoption of cultural patterns characteristic of the "core group" or host society], (2) structural assimilation [entrance into the primary group relationships, such as clubs, cliques, and institutions, of the host society], (3) identificational assimilation [taking one's sense of 'peoplehood' or collective identity from the host society], (4) marital assimilation (also known as 'amalgamation')[large scale inter marriage], (5) attitude receptional assimilation [absence of prejudice], (6) behaviour receptional assimilation [absence of discrimination], and (7) civic assimilation [absence of value and power conflict between or among groups]. Each type of assimilation can, theoretically, vary in degree.
Gordon (1971) proposed that culturalbehavioural assimilation (e. g., acquiring English language skills and/or behaviour patterns typical of the host society) is the first type to occur once members of an immigrant group arrive in a host society. Acculturation, however, does not necessarily guarantee that any other form of assimilation will occur. By contrast, he saw structural assimilation as very likely to induce all the other forms of assimilation (except for acculturation, which presumably occurred prior to structural assimilation), once it had taken place.
2.1.2. Berry's Cross Cultural Model of Acculturation
Kim and Berry (1986) have criticized Gordon's model of assimilation for being "unicultural" and assuming a "linear process of assimilation" whose end goal is the acculturating group's absorption into the dominant group of the host society. To be sure, Gordon's assimilation model focused on the United States, whose ethic of incorporating immigrants has primarily been that of "melting" or "transmuting pot(s)." By contrast, Berry (1980) has conceptualized a two dimensional model of acculturation for pluralistic societies with four different options that result from answering two separate questions either affirmatively or negatively: (1) Is it desirable to maintain one's heritage culture? (2) Is it desirable to have or maintain positive relations with other groups in the society?
Table 1 Acculturation Attitudes from Berry's Fourfold Model
Is it desirable to have positive relations with other groups in the society?
Is it desirable to maintain heritage culture?
Affirmative answers to both questions define the integration mode of acculturation. The combination of an affirmative response to the second question and a negative response to the first question describes the assimilation mode. The separation mode is identified by a combination of a positive response to the first question and a negative answer to the second question. Finally, negative answers to both questions indicate marginalisation. In Berry's (1980) model of acculturation, then, individuals and groups can adopt several alternative attitudes or orientations to their heritage and host cultures.
To summarize, Gordon's (1971) model of assimilation remains useful for conceptualizing different types of assimilation in a given society and for asking how these different types may relate to one another. However, it is a "linear" model implicitly, if not explicitly, assuming absorption of immigrant and ethnic groups into the core, dominant society to be the ideal or norm. More recent theories of acculturation proposed by social and cross-cultural psychologists in the last 10 -15 years have been "multiple option" perspectives, assuming that individuals and groups have several different orientations or choices regarding heritage culture maintenance and contact with other groups, respectively. While Berry's (1980) cross cultural model is only one of several "multiple option" perspectives (see also LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Sayegh & Lasry, 1993), it is certainly one of the most influential and perhaps the most prominent conceptualization of acculturation in the social science literature today, including that on international migration.
2.1.3. Measuring Psychological Acculturation
Categories of acculturation. Researchers have taken several tacks for measuring a respondent's level of psychological acculturation to a host society or comparing groups putatively varying in their acculturation. The most frequent approach has been to rely either upon demographic indicators (e.g., length of time in the country of residence, location and years of schooling, age at time of immigration, generational status in the country) or to compare groups of respondents varying in immigrant status, length of immigration (recent vs. long term immigrants), and generational status (first generation vs. second generation)].
Unfortunately, such demographic indicators are not entirely satisfactory, in that they probably reflect individual differences in the nature and extent of respondents' psychological acculturation only indirectly and crudely. For example, a Chinese person could have lived much of her or his adult life in a "Chinatown" of a foreign country's major city and yet be minimally acculturated to it. Similarly, demographic indicators such as length of residence or generational status are inevitably confounded with other important variables that can serve as potential rival or alternative explanations of any obtained relationships between them and adaptation. For example, length of residence is often confounded with citizenship status; generational status, with occupation and education. Fortunately, several measures of psychological acculturation relevant for immigrants and refugees in Canada and other immigrant-receiving countries currently exist, though they vary in apparent adequacy and need further validation, especially were they to be used in large-scale research on immigration.
2.1.4. Measures of Psychological Acculturation
The Suinn Lew Asian Self Identity Acculturation (SL-ASIA) scale. Richard Suinn and his colleagues have developed a 21 item measure of acculturation, intended mainly for use with respondents of East Asian backgrounds (i.e., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.) in the United States, though most of its items are easily adaptable to other countries. It is entitled the "Suinn-Lew Asian Self Identity Acculturation" (or SL-ASIA) Scale (Suinn, Ahuna & Khoo, 1992; Suinn, Rickard Figueroa, Lew & Vigil, 1987). Its items assess the respondent's reported language abilities and preferences, ethnic self identity, friendship choices, food preferences, generational status and migration history, cultural and entertainment preferences, and reported ethnic interactions. [Analyses suggest that linguistic and entertainment preferences are the dominant elements of this instrument (Suinn et al., 1992).] Most items incorporate five response options, and all items are keyed in the same "acculturation" direction. The 21 items are summed together and divided by the number of items to yield a "single score" value from 1 to 5, with higher scores taken as reflecting greater acculturation.
The SL-ASIA scale has good reliability (i.e., coefficient alphas of .86 or better) with samples of students of Asian ethnic backgrounds at several universities in Western and Midwest USA (Atkinson & Gim, 1989; Suinn et al., 1987; 1992; Tata & Leong, 1994). There is also some evidence of concurrent validity -- i.e., correlations between predictors and criteria at a given time -- from obtained relationships between SL-ASIA scores and "criterion" demographic indicators (generational status, years of residence in the U. S., English as a first language) or ethnic self identity categorizations, taken either from the scale itself or measured separately. For example, the greater the number of previous family generations in the United States, the higher was the students' SL-ASIA score (indicative of greater acculturation). Similarly, "Asian-identified" respondents scored lower on the SL-ASIA scale than "Western identified" ones.
The SL-ASIA scale, however, has some apparent deficiencies as a measure of psychological acculturation. For example, using SL-ASIA scores to define levels of acculturation, as several researchers have done at the recommendation of Suinn and his associates, seems unwise. According to Suinn et al. (1987), the summed and averaged SL-ASIA scores can be taken as indexing three acculturation categories, such that scores of 1, 3, and 5 signify "Asian identified," "Bicultural," and "Western identified" groups of respondents, respectively.
However, as with any "summated rating" scale, SL-ASIA scores can lack unique meaning. That is, an average mid range score of 3 can be attained in a variety of ways (e.g., strong endorsement of high acculturation options on some items and low acculturation options on other items vs. endorsing the middle option throughout) that do not always reflect biculturality. Also, the frequency distribution of low, middle, and high acculturation categories from SL-ASIA scores can apparently differ considerably across different geographic regions of North America (Tata & Leong, 1994). One way to avoid these problems is to rely instead on the continuous "summary" scores resulting from the scale (Tata & Leong, 1994), with the added benefit of using more of the information inherent in the scale scores than does qualitative categories.
The Majority Minority Relations Survey (MMRS). In contrast to the unidimensional SL ASIA scale, Sodowsky, Lai, and Plake (1991) have developed a 43 item multidimensional scale, called the Majority Minority Relations Survey (MMRS), for assessing the "acculturation attitudes" of members of North American ethnic and immigrant groups. They administered the MMRS to two groups Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans at the University of Nebraska in the American Midwest. The instrument yields three "factor based" subscales perceived prejudice, acculturation, and language usage each with acceptable reliabilities. The acculturation subscale has 16 items aimed at assessing the respondent's acceptance of American culture and American people. [This latter feature could be changed for use in other cultures.]
Asian Americans perceived more prejudice toward them and scored as less acculturated than did Hispanic Americans. Among Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans were less acculturated than either Japanese Americans or Korean Americans, while Chinese Americans did not differ in acculturation from Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, or Asians from the Indian subcontinent. First generation respondents perceived more prejudice, were less acculturated, and were less likely to use English than later generation respondents. Moreover, immigration status was found to be a moderator of acculturation, in that political refugees were less acculturated than voluntary immigrants. Thus, the MMRS may appeal to those interested in assessing acculturation in relation to perceived prejudice and language skills.
Acculturation attitudes. From 1970 to the present, John Berry and his colleagues have reported studies with measures of acculturation attitudes relating to his two dimensional, four fold typology described above (i.e., integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalisation). This research has included several aboriginal groups in Australia and multiple samples of "First Nations" peoples in Canada, as well as a variety of different ethnic groups in Canada: French Canadians, Portuguese Canadians, Hungarian Canadians, Korean Canadians (see Berry, Kim, Power, Young & Bujaki, 1989; Kim & Berry, 1986) and Greek-Canadians (Sands & Berry, 1993). Yet other studies have used these measures with Koreans in the process of emigrating to Canada and non emigrating Koreans (Kim, 1988) and ethnic Chinese students at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada (Noels, Clément & Pon, 1992).
While the acculturation attitudes measure is broadly applicable for use with a wide variety of groups in pluralistic societies, tailoring the scales to specific ethnic groups and the particular cultural context is usually required (see Berry et al., 1989). Scale development proceeds by first defining the acculturation issues of concern or interest to the group in a given country and then formulating four statements for each issue that expresses the sentiment of the different acculturation attitudes. For example, in Kim and Berry's (1986) study of Korean Canadians in Toronto, examples of issues were friendship and Canadian society, respectively. Finally, judges familiar with the underlying theoretical scheme gauge the adequacy of item construction, with high interjudge agreement used as a selection mechanism for constituting the final research instrument.
Reliabilities for the four acculturation attitude scales have generally been adequate (i.e., coefficient alphas between 0.70 and 0.75), though in some cases this has required deleting items with poor item total correlations (Berry et al., 1989). Berry et al. (1989) have also reported considerable evidence of validity for the acculturation attitudes scales, by showing relationships between acculturation attitude scale scores and "known groups" criteria (e.g., membership in ethnic organisations, ethnic identification, language preference, and ethnic newspaper readership) as well as outcome criteria, such as adjustment and acculturative stress. Interscale relationships (e.g., negative correlations between assimilation and separation that would be predicted on theoretical grounds) have also generally conformed to expectation.
The acculturation attitudes measures assume that members of the same ethnic or immigrant group may experience acculturation in a given society quite differently and with presumably different psychological correlates and consequences for them (Berry et al., 1989). Berry and his colleagues also suggested that they can be profitably used to assess acculturation over time and across generations and to reveal the acculturation issues of particular concern to a given ethnic or immigrant group at different points in time. For example, Kim and Berry (1986) found that the integration option received considerably greater acceptance among Korean Canadians in Toronto than did the other three acculturation options, which they took as suggesting that the relationship of Korean Canadians to other Canadians was an overriding issue to that community at that time.
In sum, the acculturation attitudes measure developed by Berry and his associates appears promising for studies of immigrant adaptation to countries. If care is taken in defining an appropriate number of issues (e.g., between 15 20), this measure should prove useful and informative in studies of the psychological acculturation of immigrants and refugees. However, since acculturation probably is a complex construct with multiple facets, using several different measures of acculturation, in an attempt to triangulate and converge on it, may be the wisest course to pursue.
Another important contribution by John Berry is the notion of acculturative stress -- a term covering the different stresses that may be encountered by a refugee, immigrant, or sojourner in the process of relocating to another country or culture, as well as by aboriginals and ethnic group members in a given society. For example, it would include economic stresses (difficulty finding suitable employment, adequate housing, sufficient income), social stresses (encountering negative attitudes and behaviours toward newcomers and/or members of one's ethnic minority group, coping with a different value system), psychological stresses (e.g., loneliness, depression, coping with past and present traumas), and even physical stresses (e.g., being a victim of crime or physical attack).
Several studies of acculturative stress have focused on Chinese sojourner students in Canadian universities. Dyal and Chan (1985) compared samples of Chinese students at the University of Hong Kong (UHK) with Hong Kong Chinese sojourners and "Euro-Canadian" students at the University of Waterloo on somatic symptoms of distress [using the Langner (1962) scale -- a measure that assesses reported psychosomatic and psychophysiological symptoms] and the frequency and impact of stressful life events (SLEs). Chinese women, whether at UHK or sojourners in Canada, reported more distress symptoms than Canadian females or Chinese men. Further, frequency of distress symptoms was differentially related to other dimensions for these student groups. Notably, perceived impact of SLEs correlated positively with distress symptoms for Canadian female students but negatively for Chinese female sojourners. For the latter, the greater the perceived impact of stressful life events, the fewer the somatic distress symptoms reported. Such findings prompted Dyal and Chan (1985, p. 447) to conclude that: "Female [HK Chinese] sojourners appear to have a different stress-symptom structure than male sojourners or female Chinese at the University of Hong Kong."
Similarly, Chataway and Berry (1989) compared stress, anxiety, coping, and appraisal measures for three student groups -- Hong Kong Chinese, French-Canadian, and English-Canadian -- attending Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Chinese sojourner students reported higher trait anxiety, greater racial prejudice toward them, more communication difficulties, more problems with adaptation, and scored higher on an acculturative stress measure [the Cawte (1972) Scale, another measure of reported psychosomatic symptoms] than did native-born, French- or English-Canadian students. For Chinese sojourners, perceived social support from friends was the only dimension (of those measured) predictive of lower acculturative stress [ethnicity of friends was unspecified].
Zheng and Berry (1991) extended the preceding research by: (1) including additional groups of Chinese university students and scholars (e.g., mainland Chinese, Chinese immigrants to Canada, and Chinese-Canadians) and (2) performing a longitudinal study of one group of sojourners whose adaptation was assessed before leaving mainland China and several times after arriving in Canada. Acculturative stress (as assessed by Cawte scale scores) increased from pre-departure up to 3-4 months post-arrival and declined slowly for several years thereafter to the pre-departure baseline, forming an inverted U-curve function. Apart from acculturative stress, Chinese sojourners also experienced more problems generally than Chinese-Canadian or non-Chinese, Canadian students. In sum, whether from mainland China or Hong Kong, Chinese students sojourning in Canadian universities confront powerful acculturative stresses and challenges in adapting to these cultures with different, if not opposing, values and customs.
Comparative study of acculturative stress. Berry, Kim, Minde, and Mok (1987) have also reported an important, comparative study of acculturative stress among five different types of acculturating group in Canada -- immigrants, refugees, sojourners, native peoples, and ethnic groups -- combining the results of several studies involving nearly 1200 individuals and using a reliable and valid measure of acculturative stress in common (viz., the Cawte scale). Perhaps most important, they tested several hypotheses concerning variations in acculturative stress as a function of the type of acculturating group. For example, they supported the prediction that "voluntary groups" (immigrants and ethnic groups) would show less acculturative stress than "involuntary groups" (refugees and native peoples). That individuals voluntarily exposing themselves to cultural change, such as immigrants, suffer less acculturative stress than those doing so involuntarily or under duress, such as refugees, also receives support from immigration research in the U. S. (see Rogler, 1994).
Berry et al. (1987) also expected sojourners to experience moderate to high levels of stress because they do not usually have access to a social support network in the host society and often experience other stresses (e.g. being a student and perhaps anticipating problems in returning to their society of origin). Consistent with this analysis, sojourners in Berry et al.'s (1987) comparative study scored midway between refugees and immigrants. Moreover, as shown in the preceding section, other evidence independently documents the considerable, acculturative and related stresses confronting foreign students sojourning in Canada and other countries.
Berry et al. (1987) also assessed the effect of moving geographically by comparing groups established in Canada (i.e., native peoples and ethnic groups) to those who had emigrated to this country (i.e., immigrants and refugees). For the groups under consideration in this comparative study, no difference in acculturative stress was found as a function of having moved geographically from one society to another. Thus, the mere act of emigrating or moving from one society to another per se appears not to be a source of acculturative stresses.
A model of acculturative stress. Perhaps most important, Berry et al. (1987) have also proposed a general model for conceptualizing the relationship between acculturation and stress and suggested a number of factors that would moderate or affect this relationship. This model is depicted in Figure 1. As shown in Figure 1, the moderating factors include (1) the nature of the larger society, (2) the type of acculturating group, (3) modes of acculturation, (4) demographic and social characteristics of the individual, and (5) psychological characteristics of the individual. This model is useful for (a) summarizing what is known about the correlates of acculturative stress at the individual and societal levels, as well as (b) serving as a heuristic device for theory- and/or policy-driven research on immigration.
Berry et al.'s (1987) Model of Acculturative Stress
Although the link between type of acculturating group and acculturative stress has already been discussed, the other moderating factors perhaps warrant mention and illustration. As regards the host society's nature, countries (such as Canada) with a multicultural policy and/or ideology reflecting tolerance of diverse cultural and national traditions should provoke less acculturative stress among immigrants and refugees than those with a strong, assimilationist ethic (Berry et al., 1987). The other three moderating factors are all features of individuals. With respect to acculturation modes, attitudes of separation and marginalization are associated with greater acculturative stress than attitudes of integration and assimilation. [Whether the acculturation attitude of integration results in less stress than that of assimilation probably depends on the nature of the host society: in a country that emphasizes a multicultural ideology, an integration attitude would likely be less stressful than an assimilation attitude; whereas an assimilation attitude would probably be less stressful for an immigrant or refugee in a country with a strong assimilationist ethic.] As for demographic and social dimensions, characteristics such as age, gender, educational status, and language ability of the immigrant are all known to be related to acculturative stress (also see Rogler, 1994). Finally, psychological characteristics such as coping abilities should obviously moderate the level of acculturative stress encountered in moving from one society to another.
Models of acculturation, together with adequate measures of psychological acculturation and acculturative stress, can help to clarify important issues concerning immigration. Most previous studies of immigrant adaptation have employed demographic indicators that only indirectly and perhaps inadequately reflect one's level of psychological acculturation. The result has been conflicting or ambiguous findings, whether one considers the correlates of generational status (e.g., first vs. second generation) or immigrant status (e.g., foreign born vs. native born) for either community residents or university students. Measures of psychological acculturation are also relevant correlates of psychological adjustment (e.g., Sands & Berry, 1993; Noels et al., 1992) and openness to seeking or receiving counselling for psychological problems (e.g., Atkinson & Gim, 1989; Tata & Leong, 1994).
Numerous policy implications flow from the preceding section reviewing the theories and measurement of acculturation and acculturative stress. For the most part, these implications would concern the planning and implementation of comparative, national and international research projects on immigration in Canada and elsewhere. It almost goes without saying that such research on immigrants and immigration should obviously incorporate state-of-the-art theory and methodology concerning acculturation attitudes and acculturative stress. Multidimensional theories of acculturation today enjoy greater scientific prominence and credibility than earlier unidimensional ones, such as Gordon's assimilation model, though the latter nevertheless remains useful as a framework for devising measures of assimilation. Of various multidimensional models of acculturation, Berry's fourfold model is unquestionably the best known and best supported by research evidence. However, acculturation is only one, albeit an unquestionably important one, of several social-psychological processes relating to international migration, with changes in socioeconomic status and social networks being two other important aspects of the migration experience (see Rogler, 1994). Consequently, no acculturation theory can be considered, by itself, sufficient as a general conceptual model of immigration and the immigrant experience.
Likewise, Berry's conceptualization and model of acculturative stress is easily the best available in the international social science literature. The study of acculturating groups in Canada by Berry et al. (1987) is an excellent first step for research taking an explicitly comparative perspective, though it possessed several limitations. For example, there was only one instance of an immigrant group and a refugee group, respectively. Moreover, most of the "ethnic groups" were disproportionately drawn from the dominant, Anglo-Celtic ethnic tradition in Canada. Limitations such as these could and should obviously be avoided in any international comparative study. An international comparative study is clearly needed to address the important question concerning the hypothesized advantages of multicultural vs. assimilationist ideologies in lowering acculturative stresses for immigrants and refugees. Were evidence forthcoming to support the superiority of a multicultural ideology in regard to immigrant adaptation, it would provide extremely important support for the federal Multiculturalism policy that is under scrutiny and criticism from some political and geographic sectors in Canada today.
For future research efforts, immigrant adaptation to a new culture should not be inferred indirectly from demographic or biographical features but rather measured directly with measures of acculturation. Acculturation measures have considerably better potential for predicting the speed and success of an immigrant's adaptation to his or her adopted country than demographic indicators such as the number of years in the country. Toward that end, several measures of acculturation were considered.
Immigration researchers in different countries have favoured different measurement scales for assessing acculturation. Several British researchers have tended to use Gordon's assimilation model as inspiration for deriving indices of assimilation. American researchers have predominantly employed the SL-ASIA scale. Within Canada, most researchers have utilized Berry's four types of acculturative attitudes to assess psychological acculturation. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no previous studies have incorporated multiple measures of acculturation so that their interrelationships could be assessed. However, a study of Koreans in Toronto by Kim (1996), supervised by the present author, clearly indicated that the concurrent validity (i.e., the ability to predict criteria of interest that were assessed at the same time) of Berry's four acculturation attitudes was considerably superior to the SL-ASIA scale, developed by Richard Suinn and his colleagues, for predicting psychological adjustment and help-seeking.
Nevertheless, at the moment, no generic version of Berry's measures of acculturation attitudes exists that would permit its "off the shelf" use with a wide variety of ethnic or immigrant groups, without a good deal of additional work in developing the instrument and adapting it to specific groups of interest. Instead, as noted earlier, it is tailored to each group, with relevant issues identified and defined anew. Moreover, unless care is taken to insure an adequate number of issues are identified, reliability (and hence, its use as a measuring instrument and predictor of relevant criteria) can suffer. The need to tailor the acculturation attitudes measures to each group makes it difficult, if not impossible, to undertake comparative research on acculturation using only this instrument.
As a complex multidimensional construct, it makes most sense at present to assess acculturation with several instruments that tap different, relatively nonoverlapping facets of this "latent variable." Likely candidates certainly include Berry's measure of acculturation attitudes, along with assimilation indices inspired by Gordon's model, and measures such as the MMRS and/or SL-ASIA that assess language preference, perceived prejudice/discrimination, along with feelings of group belongingness. The collective acculturation orientation scale discussed below also warrants consideration as a generic measure of acculturation for a wide variety of ethnic and immigrant groups.
Last, though not least, the psychological literature on acculturative stresses has obvious policy implications, especially in identifying classes of individuals known or suspected to suffer greater stress from adaptation to a new society than others. Rogler's (1994) model stresses the importance of age and gender for easily adapting to a new society: Being young and being male are associated with easier and smoother cultural adaptation. Berry et al. (1987) likewise noted that women report greater acculturative stress than men across types of acculturating groups. [Why gender relates to acculturative stress is unclear, though Rogler (1994) has suggested it might reflect the fact women typically have less influence or control over the decision, timing, and circumstances of emigration than do the men in a family.] Owing to the ready availability of a social support network, immigrants sponsored by family members or a religious group have been hypothesized to be less prone to acculturative stress than "independent" immigrants who do not have the benefit of a family or church sponsor (Rogler, 1994). Similarly, education and knowledge of the dominant language(s) in the host society are, respectively, associated with lower stress, perhaps because they reflect increased ability to cope in a new cultural setting. A great deal of evidence exists to indicate that refugees (especially those fleeing political or military persecution) experience much more acculturative stresses and more severe mental health problems (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder) than do immigrants. Finally, factors within the host society, such as hostile attitudes towards immigrants and refugees and lack of sufficient employment opportunities, likewise heighten acculturative stress.
These known or suspected "risk" factors for acculturative stress suggest the importance of considering primary prevention for immigrants with one or more of the aforementioned characteristics (Williams & Berry, 1991). In a primary prevention programme, groups or individuals at risk are targeted for community action and support before a disorder becomes manifest or problematic. Williams and Berry (1991) illustrated case examples from the U. S. and Canada at local, national, and international levels. As an example of primary prevention at a national level in Canada, they described the recommendations of the Task Force Report on Mental Health Issues Affecting Immigrants and Refugees prepared by Beiser et al. (1988) at the request of the Ministry of Multiculturalism (now Heritage Canada) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in the Canadian federal government.
For example, some examples of specific recommendations were improving funding for settlement service agencies serving the young, women, and the elderly, and public education to increase awareness of difficulties faced by newcomers and heighten appreciation of the advantages of cultural pluralism in our society
Social-psychological theories of intergroup relations provide another major, conceptual perspective for considering immigration and acculturation that partly complements the theoretical models of acculturation presented above. [Taylor and Moghaddam's (1994) book, entitled Theories of Intergroup Relations: International Social Psychological Perspectives, provides an excellent summary and critique of these theories for the interested reader.] Though several different theories are involved [e.g., Taylor & McKirnan's (1984) five-stage model of intergroup relations, Tajfel and Turner's social identity theory, Moghaddam's mobility model of social integration for immigrants, the multiculturalism model], they are collectively referred to as the "intergroup relations approach," following Lalonde and Cameron (1993). The intergroup relations approach to issues of immigration, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in Canada owes much to the contributions of McGill social psychologist, Donald Taylor, and some of his colleagues (most notably, Lambert, Moghaddam, and Lalonde) with whom he has collaborated over the past decade.
The intergroup relations approach makes several key assumptions about the immigrant experience, especially the immigrant's core psychological motivations. Immigrants are assumed to leave their native homeland in an attempt to better their lives. Thus, aspirations for upward economic and social mobility, as well as greater political freedom, constitute the important psychological motives driving the desire and decision to emigrate, as well as the immigrants' attitudes and behaviour in their adopted countries long after they have first arrived as newcomers.
Like all people, immigrants also want to think well of themselves and the membership groups from whom they derive their social identity. In other words, individuals try to maintain and enhance a positive social identity and want their national and ethnic group(s) to be respected and well regarded in their adopted country. In making social comparisons (i.e., comparing themselves and their groups to other individuals and groups), immigrants are sometimes, if not often, at a social disadvantage by virtue of one or more of the following characteristics: their newcomer status, race, culture, language, socioeconomic and occupational status, education, etc.
In order to cope with these social disadvantages and also attain their aspirations, immigrants can choose between two broad, competing and mutually opposed strategies: an individualistic, assimilationist strategy versus a collectivistic, heritage culture maintenance strategy. As implied by its label, the individualistic strategy involves focusing on one's own personal achievement and individual upward, social mobility, whilst attempting to "pass" or fit into the majority group and adopt its values and customs in preference to those of one's heritage group. The individualistic strategy is assumed to be preferred by immigrants in the first instance, especially by those with higher status, higher education, and/or higher skill levels. However, if unsuccessful, the immigrant can resort to an alternative, collectivistic strategy.
The collectivistic strategy, by contrast, involves the collective action of one's ethnocultural or immigrant community and reflects an attempt to bring the weight of numbers and group pressure to bear upon government and relevant institutions to redress real and/or perceived inequities in social as well as monetary rewards. The collectivistic strategy is also the preferred option for immigrants who cherish their heritage culture/language and wish to retain and maintain it in their adopted country. The collectivistic strategy, then, has as its central feature a positive orientation toward maintaining one's heritage culture, as a means to an end (in the case of unsuccessful, individualistic strategists) and/or as an end in itself (for devotées of the heritage culture).
These alternative strategies dovetail to some extent with two of Berry's acculturation attitudes. The individualistic strategy closely parallels the acculturation attitude of assimilation in Berry's fourfold scheme. The collectivistic, heritage culture maintenance strategy also bears similarity to the acculturation attitude of integration in Berry's model. The other acculturation attitudes of separation and marginalisation, by contrast, may well be less relevant and applicable when considering immigrants, according to Berry and advocates of the intergroup relations approach, respectively. The separation option applies most readily to native-born groups, especially those with territorial claims or aspirations: e.g., aboriginal peoples, Francophone Quebecois who favour sovereignty, geographically segregated ethnic communities, etc. On the other hand, Berry's integration attitude recognizes a desire to combine "the best of both worlds" by participating in the mainstream of the adopted culture, while still retaining one's heritage culture at the same time. By contrast, the intergroup relations approach views the assimilationist and heritage culture maintenance options as mutually exclusive.
Lambert, Mermigis, and Taylor (1986) conducted perhaps the first study by those taking an intergroup relations approach to explore Canadian immigrants' preferences for "assimilationist" vs. heritage culture maintenance strategies. They interviewed Greek adults in Montreal, almost all of whom had emigrated to Canada, and asked where they stood on the debate as to whether "cultural and racial minority groups" should either: (a) give up their traditional ways of life and adopt the Canadian one, or (b) maintain their traditional ways of life as much as possible in Canada. Another question asked how important it was to maintain the Greek language in Canada. When presented as mutually exclusive alternatives, the Greek immigrants unequivocally preferred heritage culture maintenance; and they also strongly supported the Greek language in Canada.
Moghaddam, Taylor, and Lalonde (1987) subsequently investigated individualistic vs. collective integration strategies among Iranian immigrants in Montreal and related the latter's strategy preferences to membership and participation in Iranian cultural organizations, as well as perceived justice and mobility strategies. Overall, the Iranian immigrants showed moderately strong support for heritage culture maintenance, albeit with notable individual differences in preference for one strategy versus the other. Those who endorsed the heritage culture maintenance strategy were more likely to belong to Iranian cultural organizations and to rely upon them for getting ahead in Canada (i.e., a collectivistic strategy) than those who espoused an individualistic, "go it alone" stance. The former were also less likely to want to leave Canada. In other words, despite their common ethnic, national background, the Iranian immigrants differing in "acculturation" strategy had quite different attitudes about Canada and their heritage group and different mobility strategies.
Native-born, English- and French-Canadians, the so-called "Charter groups," have been found to support heritage culture maintenance strongly in the past (Berry, Kalin & Taylor, 1977). Likewise, as noted above, some immigrant groups in Canada, such as Greeks and Iranians in Montreal, have supported heritage culture maintenance either strongly or moderately so. However, Moghaddam and Taylor (1987) also showed that not all immigrant groups in Canada strongly support heritage culture maintenance. They discovered that East Indian women in Montreal were, at most, lukewarm in their support for maintaining their heritage culture, reserving strong support only for language and intergenerational relationships. A majority of these immigrant women also felt they had personally been badly treated on account of their race in Canada, believed that Canadians regarded them primarily as "coloured, immigrant women," and were socially isolated in the sense that they interacted mostly with other members of their own group rather than other groups. Taken together, Moghaddam and Taylor (1987) concluded that support for heritage culture maintenance does not always indicate a positive choice. Rather, it can sometimes stem from negative experiences such as social isolation, as well as feeling that one has been discriminated against and/or stereotyped unfairly.
Lalonde and Cameron (1993) provided further evidence for this latter conclusion in a study comparing four immigrant groups in Toronto: Caribbean Blacks, Chinese, Greeks, and Italians. They hypothesized and found that the visible minority, immigrant groups (viz., Blacks and Chinese) would feel more stigmatized and also support a "collective acculturation orientation" more strongly than the white, and less stigmatized, groups (i.e., Italians and Greeks). The collective acculturation orientation consists of the belief that working within one's ethnic group is the best way to protect and maintain one's personal status as well as that of one's group. The aforementioned findings remained intact even when length of residence in Canada was held constant. Thus, support for heritage culture maintenance and other collectivistic orientations on the part of immigrants in Canada can also reflect a defensive posture or reaction to perceived stigmatization.
To summarize, the intergroup relations approach is a major theoretical approach deriving from social psychology in Canada that provides distinctive insights into immigration for different ethnic and immigrant groups. Although it complements some aspects of acculturation theories, especially Berry's model, it also emphasizes some unique aspects and features of the immigrant experience. Specifically, it suggests that immigrants basically choose between two mutually exclusive options at a given point in time: an individualistic, assimilationist strategy versus a collectivistic, heritage culture maintenance strategy. Research from the intergroup relations approach shows that the immigrant can select a collectivistic strategy for negative, defensive reasons as well as positive, nondefensive ones. While yet to be explored, the "functional" or motivational basis for the collectivistic strategy -- i.e., whether chosen for positive vs. negative reasons -- is quite likely to prove important for predicting a wide range of attitudes and behaviours of immigrants.
Some limitations of research on the intergroup relations approach should be mentioned. According to Lalonde and Cameron (1993), the preceding research has measured the two opposing orientations somewhat crudely with only a few items. Lalonde and Cameron (1993) themselves developed a highly reliable scale of "collective acculturation orientation" consisting of 15 items. However, since all its items are scored in the same direction, the instrument may be liable to acquiescence response set (i.e., a tendency for those who agree with opinion statements generally to score higher on the scale for that reason alone). Perhaps more problematic, their collective acculturation orientation measure failed to correlate with an extant measure of individualism-collectivism adapted from Triandis, which might lead one to question whether it is indeed assessing a preference for a collectivistic approach to an individualistic one. Alternatively, the individualism-collectivism measure may be problematic. In any case, it is important to document that the collective acculturation orientation measure or the heritage culture maintenance measure employed by earlier researchers does indeed relate to, and reflect, a collectivistic orientation by employing contemporary measures of individualism and collectivism.
We need to know how the collectivistic acculturation orientation scale or its predecessor measure assessing a desire for heritage culture maintenance actually relates to the four acculturation attitudes postulated by Berry and his colleagues. Equally if not more important, what is the concurrent or predictive validity of collective acculturation orientation measures, especially for criteria of relevance for immigration issues? On the face of it, since they suppose a social support network, one might expect that a collectivistic orientation toward adaptation to a new country would be associated with better outcomes in terms of employment-seeking, health, and other criteria of interest.
The collective acculturation orientation scale has a potential advantage over the four acculturation attitudes, assuming that it is indeed measuring what it says it is. Specifically, it could serve as a generic measure of immigration acculturation that could be used to compare a wide variety of groups on acculturation on a common scale without extensive changes to, or development of, the instrument.
In two regards, language is crucial for immigrants who do not know the official language(s) of the country to which they emigrated. First, perhaps more so than any other single factor, proficiency in an official language facilitates incorporating the newcomer into the "host" society. Accordingly, theories of second language acquisition have obvious bearing for immigrant adaptation and acculturation. Second, developing self-confidence in the acquired, official language has been shown in recent research with foreign-born respondents in Canada to relate to linguistic and cultural assimilation, though differently for "sojourning" students than for permanent residents. In this latter regard, Clément's social context model has interesting potential for immigration studies. These, then, are the rationales for the relevance of bilingualism research for understanding the acculturation of immigrants.
Reflecting our country's bilingual heritage, social psychologists in Canada have been, and continue to be, world leaders in theory and research on bilingualism. This tradition owes much to the seminal contributions of McGill social psychologist Wallace Lambert (now a retired, Emeritus Professor) and his former students and collaborators, especially Robert Gardner and Richard Clément, who themselves became major theorists and researchers on bilingualism. Thus, the social psychology of bilingualism is another distinctly Canadian contribution to our understanding of immigration acculturation.
Much of this bilingualism literature has concerned second language acquisition of the "other" official language by anglophones and francophones, respectively, in Eastern Canada. Except in very broad and brief outline, this voluminous literature will not be discussed here. [The interested reader is referred to Gardner (1985).] Social psychological research on Canadian bilingualism has demonstrated that acquisition of the second "official" language depends on motivational factors as well as ability, whether for Canadian anglophones learning French or Canadian francophones learning English. Two independent factors have been repeatedly demonstrated as relevant to second language acquisition for these native-born speakers: (1) language aptitude and (2) an "integrative motive" consisting of a positive attitude towards acquiring a second language and a positive attitude towards the target language group. For Canadian francophones but not anglophones, self-confidence in the language being acquired is an additional motivational factor that facilitates language acquisition.
In the last decade, however, some researchers began to consider other ethnolinguistic groups whose members were not native born in Canada: specifically, Chinese residing in Ontario with English as their second language. These studies, though their findings link self-confidence with English as a second language to different modes of assimilation to "Anglo-Canadian" culture. They suggest that confidence and proficiency with English can facilitate acculturation or assimilation in some regards, but may also entail costs in psychosocial adjustment, heritage language proficiency, and ethnic identity.
Pak, Dion, and Dion (1985) administered a survey questionnaire in Chinese or English to a sample of Chinese students at the University of Toronto -- the majority Hong Kong-born. The focal question was whether or not self-confidence with English was associated with cultural assimilation and loss of Chinese cultural heritage, as suggested by prior studies of Canadian Francophones learning English (Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Clément, Gardner & Smythe, 1980). Self-confidence with English among Chinese university students in Toronto was associated with linguistic assimilation (i.e., feeling self-assured with English but lacking confidence or proficiency with Chinese language skills) but not with cultural assimilation (e.g., lower participation in Toronto's Chinese community, loss of Chinese identity). Self-confidence with English was also associated with several indicators of psychosocial adaptation: viz., high self-esteem, a greater sense of control over one's life, and greater satisfaction with life in Toronto.
Young and Gardner (1990) subsequently completed a similar study with Hong Kong-Chinese students at the University of Western Ontario using an English language questionnaire only. Analyses yielded a "linguistic identification" factor very similar to Pak et al.'s (1985) "linguistic assimilation" factor, in that confidence and proficiency with English were associated with poor proficiency with the Chinese language, but bore no relation to assimilation and integration measures of acculturation attitudes in Berry's (1980) fourfold typology.
University student samples alone, however, may sometimes yield an incomplete or misleading picture. Dion, Dion, and Pak (1990) explored self-reported language proficiencies in English and Chinese among members of Toronto's Chinese community, most of whom were born outside Canada but were Canadian citizens or "landed immigrants" in Canada at the time of the study. For this ethnic community sample, self-reported confidence with English related positively to self-esteem but negatively to several aspects of involvement in the Chinese community. Conversely, self-reported confidence in the Chinese language related positively to Chinese community involvement but negatively to aspects of psychosocial adaptation (viz., self-esteem, internal control, and reported happiness).
Thus, Dion et al.'s (1990) Chinese community study yielded a quite different picture than studies with Chinese university students in Canada. They interpreted the discrepant findings for the two types of Chinese sample in terms of Clément's social context model and a majority group vs. a minority group profile for second-language acquisition (Clément et al., 1977; 1980; Clément & Kruidenier, 1985; Clément, 1987; Gardner, 1985).
Clément's social context model. Clément's model states that the social context is important to language learning because it influences the motivation to learn a second language and determines which motivational processes are important in the process. The model assumes that when one's language group has minority status, its members should be attracted toward the second language group and desire to learn the second language because doing so brings better access to the material and psychological benefits available in the culture. This orientation toward the second language group is called the "primary motivational process." However, where contact with the second language group is possible, a "secondary motivational process" becomes a more important determinant of motivation for second language acquisition, with different consequences for members of minority groups rather than those from the majority.
A key element of the secondary motivational process is the learner's self-confidence with the second language. Greater contact with the second language and its speakers heightens self-confidence and proficiency in it. High self-confidence in a second language in the case of a majority group member should lead to integration (i.e., a sense of acceptance in the second language community, while retaining a sense of belongingness in one's own original language group). For minority group members, on the other hand, high self-confidence in the second language is expected to lead to assimilation in the dominant culture and potential loss of one's ethnic self-identity. In short, Clément's social context model predicts assimilation and "subtractive bilingualism" as a consequence of self-confidence in a second language for minority group members; and in the case of majority group members, integration and "additive bilingualism."
The Chinese community study by Dion et al. (1990) yielded findings typifying those for an ethnolinguistic minority in that increasing self-confidence in the second language was associated with assimilation and "subtractive bilingualism" (i.e., a loss of one's original or native culture and language skills). By contrast, two studies of Chinese university students in Ontario suggest that they fit a "majority group" profile in which second language acquisition is "additive" (i.e., feeling accepted in the second language community without losing one's cultural identity or ties).
Since the Chinese university students were more apt to be sojourners in Canada than were members of Toronto's general Chinese community, they may have exhibited a "sojourner" attitude and adopted a stance similar to that of a majority group member in acquiring English language skills. The relation of English language proficiency and confidence to assimilation for Chinese people in Canada, if not elsewhere, may depend upon their status as sojourners vs. permanent residents.
These studies, their findings, and their interpretation are complex. Clearly, however, language acquisition by immigrants has important implications for their adaptation to their adopted country and in particular, some consequences for their acculturation. Although social psychological theories of bilingualism, including Clément's social context model, have largely concerned native-born anglophones and francophones, recent studies have extended the social psychology of bilingualism to include Chinese language speakers in Canada, almost all foreign born. They suggest that developing self-confidence with English among these foreign-born heightens assimilation, though perhaps in different ways for Chinese university students versus immigrant Chinese who become permanent residents of Canada. Self-confidence in the official language and the integrative motive toward the majority group and its language may lead to linguistic and/or cultural assimilation of the immigrant.
Another possible perspective on language issues in immigration may be provided by the debate in the U. S. concerning the relative merits of English immersion vs. bilingual education for children whose first language is not English and members of minority groups (e.g., students of Hispanic background, native persons, and also those African-American children who speak a nonstandard form of English). Advocates of total immersion in English argue that since English language deficits may contribute to the poorer academic performance of minority children relative to their counterparts in the majority group, especially those from linguistic minorities, the most obvious solution is to immerse such students entirely in English so as to overcome and compensate for the linguistic weaknesses they may possess. By contrast, devotees of bilingual education counter that a child cannot learn in a language s/he does not understand. Therefore, the best approach is to instruct linguistic minority students in their first language so that they do not fall behind academically while they are acquiring proficiency in the English language.
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