Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cultural adaptation and help -seeking attitudes of second -generation Asian Indians in the United States: An ex -post facto comparative study
by Periyanayagam, Chella, Ph.D., University of Louisville, 2007, 145; 3286742
Abstract (Summary)

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 brought an influx of predominantly professional immigrants from South Asia to the United States. The Asian Indian immigrants differed in their cultural matrix from earlier, mostly European immigrants. Adaptation and assimilation were arguably harder for them as their native culture emphasized the collectivistic nature of family, a holistic approach to health, and an ethnocentric approach to problem solving and resolution of psychological distress. The children of these immigrants, or the second-generation Asian Indian immigrants, either born and raised in the U.S. or emigrated to the U.S. as young children, seemed caught between two cultures that were at odds with each other. Their identity formation, acculturation, cultural adaptation, and help-seeking attitudes have been influenced by both the predominant culture as well as the culture of their parents.

This study compared the acculturation, cultural adaptation and psychological help-seeking attitudes of the second-generation Asian Indian immigrants, first-generation Asian Indian immigrants and the dominant group peers of the second-generation immigrants. The instrument used to measure acculturation and cultural adaptation in this study was the Cultural Adaptation Assessment Scale (CAAS, Portes & Sandhu, 2005). Because this is a relatively new instrument, its validity and reliability were established by comparing it with other well-researched instruments measuring similar constructs.

The results of the MANOVAs indicated that there were group differences in cultural adaptation as measured by the subscales of CAAS. Contrary to predictions, it was the dominant group peers who reported more symptoms of psychological pain than the first and second-generation immigrants and more learned helplessness than the second generation immigrants. The second-generation immigrants were more positively adapted than the first-generation immigrants. The difference in help-seeking attitudes among the three groups and between genders was not statistically significant. Within the first-generation immigrants, participants who had lived in the U.S. longer were more positively adapted than participants who had lived for shorter period of time, but the latter had more open attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help than the former. The probable reasons for some of the unexpected results are explored.

Indexing (document details)
School: University of Louisville
School Location: United States -- Kentucky
Source: DAI-A 68/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Academic guidance counseling, Minority & ethnic groups, Sociology
Keywords: Asian Indian, Asian-American, Cultural adaptation, Help-seeking, Immigrants, Second-generation
Publication Number: 3286742
ISBN: 978-0-549-29732-1
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