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Acculturation Gaps and Adjustment of Migrant Children and Families

Sun, Qian (2020) Acculturation Gaps and Adjustment of Migrant Children and Families. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Research presented in this thesis described a body of work focusing on the examination of acculturation gaps and adjustment of migrant families. This thesis was situated in the field of acculturation gap-distress model, which proposed a negative relationship between acculturation gaps and migrants’ adjustment. Although this acculturation gap-distress model has been studied extensively, findings are largely inconsistent. Therefore, to examine the validity of this gap-distress model and explore alternative models, this research examined the proposed gap-distress relationship in an overall sample of 493 children and 687 parents, through 3 empirical studies, in 4 dyads (i.e., parent-child; mother- and father-child; husbandwife) and across various children’s and families’ outcomes (e.g., children’s wellbeing, family closeness, husbands’ and wives’ relationship quality). In the examination of parent-child acculturation gaps and children well-being, individual acculturation, not parent-child acculturation gaps, was associated with children wellbeing, indicating that the parent-child acculturation gaps were inconsequential for children’s well-being. Instead, a cultural integration approach at the family level emerged. Turning to the examination of mother- and father-child acculturation gaps and children’s well-being and family closeness, children better well-being was associated with a smaller father-child settlement gap while family closeness was associated with a smaller mother-child heritage gap. These results indicate a potentially deleterious effect of the acculturation gap on children and family outcomes and also highlight differential roles of fathers and mothers in acculturation gap-distress research. Lastly, the proposed gap-distress relation was examined in migrant couples. Husbands’ well-being was negatively related to a husband-wife heritage gap while wives’ well-being was negatively related to a husband-wife settlement gap. This examination of the acculturation gap-distress model has moved beyond the typical parent-child dyads and highlights the importance to include migrant couples into the research of acculturation gap-distress. Together, the presented research represents an endeavour to advance the acculturation gapdistress research in migrant families.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Qian Sun
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 10:00
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2020 10:01

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