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Unraveling Perceived Ethnic Density Effects and Recontextualizing Acculturation: The cases of Student and Russian-Speaking Immigrants to Montreal

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Unraveling Perceived Ethnic Density Effects and Recontextualizing Acculturation: The cases of Student and Russian-Speaking Immigrants to Montreal

Jurcik, Tomas (2013) Unraveling Perceived Ethnic Density Effects and Recontextualizing Acculturation: The cases of Student and Russian-Speaking Immigrants to Montreal. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Social context has often been neglected in recent social and culturally focused psychology research (Oishi, Keisibir, & Snyder, 2009; Van de Vijver & Leung, 2000). The immigrant acculturation literature is no exception. Research linking acculturation to adjustment has been permeated with inconsistent results, partly due to differences in methodologies, settings, and samples between studies (see Trickett Persky & Espino, 2009). A potential avenue towards resolving these inconsistencies is to study acculturation in ecological context. Ethnic Density (ED), the concentration of immigrants of the same ethnicity residing in an area, is one such ecological variable. ED has generally been associated with better mental health, but again there are paradoxical findings and the mechanisms of the ED effect are rarely addressed (Shaw et al., 2012). Since ED and acculturation phenomena are seldom combined in research (cf. Kwag, Jang, & Chiriboga, 2012) an attempt was made to remedy this situation in the current investigations.
Two studies attempted to unpack the mediating mechanisms of the perceived local area ED effect and contextualize acculturation-adjustment relations in Montreal. The first, utilizing a heterogeneous group of student immigrants (N=146), found that ED protected participants against depression via reduced discrimination. Furthermore, ED moderated the relation between heritage acculturation and depression, suggesting a person-environment match: immigrants tended to benefit from heritage acculturation living in a high but not low ED context. The second, a community study of Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union (N=269), aimed to replicate and extend these findings. A multi-item measure of perceived ED was developed and validated against an objective indicator. Again, an indirect effect of ED was found, but this time for general distress through acquiring social support. Moreover, heritage acculturation was double moderated by perceived ED and length of neighbourhood residence. This interaction indicated an ethnic density-heritage acculturation match but for more recent neighbourhood residents. A different relation emerged for established neighbourhood residents, where low ED was associated with more symptoms, especially for those low on heritage culture affiliation. In neither study did mainstream acculturation interact with ED to predict adjustment. The findings support studying acculturation in ecological context, and suggest that heritage acculturation is relevant to adjustment in Montreal, a unique city with more than one dominant culture. Future research directions as well as clinical and prevention implications are discussed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Jurcik, Tomas
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:9 December 2013
ID Code:978342
Deposited By: TOMAS JURCIK
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 13:59
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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