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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32306

Title: Beyond Acculturation: Cultural Constructions of Immigrant Resilience and Belonging in the Canadian Context
Authors: Goldman, Michael
Advisor: Moodley, Roy
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: immigrant
resilience
culture
belonging
adaptation
adversity
acceptance
attachment
Issue Date: 26-Mar-2012
Abstract: The psychological literature on immigrants has identified numerous challenges of resettlement. Research on acculturation indicates that adaptive functioning is characterized as a bicultural prospect in which individuals balance their heritage and the dominant culture within the receiving society. This conceptualization of positive adaptation typically relegates culture to a broad-based and static property circumscribed within ethnicity, neglecting diverse cultural representations and the way specific mechanisms affect the process of adaptation. The current research sought immigrants’ subjective accounts of resilience. The aim of this study was to identify specific markers of significant adversity and corollary positive adaptation that intersect with diverse mechanisms of culture to develop a theory of cultural adaptation. A constructivist grounded theory approach was implemented in data collection and analysis. Eighteen first-generation immigrants, who represented a range of cultural backgrounds and geographic regions, each participated in one semi-structured interview. The overarching theme that emerged from data analysis, Belonging, was found to explicate the meaning of resilience for immigrants in terms of their cultural adaptation. Belonging indicated a process by which immigrants gained a sense of identification with and inclusion in Canadian society. Immigrants’ perception of Belonging was affected by two mid-level themes, Forming Attachments and Feeling Acceptance. Forming Attachments was contextually driven and highlighted a personal process of developing cultural attachments. The advancement of attachments, interpersonally, occupationally and to the larger sociocultural environment, was meaningful to recovery and had implications for Belonging. The second mid-level theme identified a reciprocal process of acceptance that revealed a struggle to accept cultural changes as well as the significance of feeling accepted as an equal member of society. Taken together, Forming Attachments and Feeling Acceptance had a significant effect on immigrants’ sense of Belonging and were contextualized within a range of cultural domains. This study highlights the dynamic role of culture in immigrant adaptation and contributes to both research and health care professionals by offering a framework of immigrant resilience that may promote healthy forms of functioning.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32306
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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