Date of Award

1-1-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Chris Sonn

Second Advisor

Dr Lynne Cohen

Abstract

Part One : The term acculturation describes an array of cultural changes that occur when culturally different groups come into continuous, first hand contact (Redfield, Linton, & Herskovits, 1936). Acculturative stress describes a multitude of psychological or social problems that are often encountered by individuals experiencing acculturation (Berry, 1994). This article reviews the empirical literature on acculturation and factors influencing the outcomes of the acculturation experience from the perspective of the research framework proposed by Berry (1974, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990). Methodological issues relevant to advancing this area of research are also addressed. In particular the influence of attitudes to acculturation on the level of acculturative stress has been investigated. Some research positions critical of Berry's framework and some alternatives to Berry's framework will also be briefly discussed. New multivariate models that examine the interplay of these variables arc now required to further understanding in this area. Part Two : The relationship between the type of acculturating group and the levels of acculturative stress encountered during the acculturative experience has been documented in the study of Berry and Kim (1%8) and replicated by others. However, there is not much evidence concerning the influence of the cultural compatibility between the acculturating group and the host nation on the level of acculturative stress. The aim of this study was to compare the level of acculturative stress between migrants of Asian (Singaporean Chinese) and European (Polish) origin using a group of white Anglo-Australians as a control. The main hypothesis was that people migrating to Australia from Europe will experience a lower level of acculturative stress than Asian migrants due to the greater similarity of the cultural background between Australia and Europe than between Australia and Asia.

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