Maydell-Stevens, Elena; Masgoret, Anne-Marie; Ward, Tony
March 2007
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Mar2007, Issue 30, p178
Academic Journal
The problems immigrants experience during the process of their psychological and sociocultural adaptation to the host culture have farreaching effects in terms of mental health, employment and lost benefits for the whole society. General models of the acculturation process (Ward 1996) and acculturation strategies (Berry 2001) provide a basis for the analysis of those problems. The current study employed a qualitative, case-oriented design, based on the grounded theory method to analyse interviews with six Russian-speaking immigrants in New Zealand. The purpose of the study was to investigate, from a psychological perspective, the problems in adaptation as a result of migration and resettlement, and the factors that influence this process. Two distinct patterns were revealed, linked to acculturation strategies of integration and separation. All the participants experienced high levels of psychological distress in the initial stage of their resettlement, but those who later chose the integration strategy of acculturation were more successful and satisfied with their adaptation than those who chose the strategy of separation. Factors contributing to the process of adaptation were migration motivation, proportion of perceived gains and losses, and cultural identity. This study has implications for social policies in the areas of employment, education and mental health.


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