Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The successful journey of finding "home" in a foreign land: An integrative model from a qualitative study of the lived transitional immigration experience of first-generation adult Chinese Americans
by Chan, WeiKi Elsie, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2013, 232; 3594738
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of Chinese immigrants who have successfully adjusted and resettled in the United States. Immigration and its related processes can be stressful and traumatic; migration entails challenges affecting one's sense of personal identity and psychological well-being. This study represents an attempt to obtain a deeper understanding of immigration's challenges, the psychological coping mechanisms used to meet those challenges, and the factors that contribute to successful adjustment and resettlement in the United States.

Participants were recruited through the researcher's social and professional network, using snowball sampling. Data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with 11 adult immigrants of Chinese descent who (a) immigrated to the United States more than five years prior to the study, (b) self-identified as having adjusted well, and (c) reestablished their lives in the United States and viewed it as their "home." Grounded theory-based qualitative analysis was applied to the interview transcripts to identify codes, themes, and categories describing the participants' experiences and psychological processes of immigration and resettlement.

Data analysis produced eight thematic categories. The eight thematic categories identified as helpful toward understanding the complex process that Chinese immigrants undergo during adjustment and successful reestablishment of their lives in the United States were (a) migratory loss and grief; (b) acculturative stress; (c) self-determination in reestablishing "home" in the United States and mastering related challenges; (d) learning new skills and learning about U.S. culture; (e) expanding and making use of interpersonal relationships and support systems; (f) use of emotional-focused coping; (g) maintaining positive attitudes and outlooks; and (h) feeling at "home" and well-adjusted in the United States.

A conceptual model was then developed to describe (a) causal conditions that underlie the development of Chinese immigrants' coping and adjustment strategies, (b) the phenomenon that arose from those conditions, (c) the coping and adjustment strategies employed, (d) contextual and intervening conditions that influenced strategy selection, and (e) the consequences of adopting the chosen strategies. In addition, a "Success of Immigration" scale was used to assess the level of successful adjustment. Clinical implications of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tong, Benjamin R.
Commitee: Morgan, Robert F.
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Asian American Studies, Mental health, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Acculturation, Asian Americans, Chinese immigrants, Cultural adjustment, Ethnic identity, Migratory grief
Publication Number: 3594738
ISBN: 9781303394607
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