College of Community Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
There is limited research on the experience of migrant women’s acculturation to Australian society. This paper outlines a two-part study that attempted to address this gap (i) by investigating the acculturation experiences of a sample of 30 women in Brisbane and (ii) a survey of 108 women in Brisbane and Sydney who have migrated to Australia after the age of fifteen. Results indicated that, while many migrant women experienced a number of acculturation challenges related to their status as ‘migrants’ and as ‘women’, many displayed resilience and developed competencies in acculturating themselves to a new country. Although acculturation to a new environment has long been associated with psychological distress, less is known about the mechanisms responsible for this effect. Therefore, the second part of the study surveyed 108 migrant women to examine their resilience in acculturating themselves to a new environment while minimising the impact of consequent psychological distress. Results indicated that resilience was an important mediating factor in the acculturation process for new migrants and helped to minimise psychological distress. Implications for research and practice are discussed.