Year of Publication

2012

Degree Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Family Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Claudia J. Heath

Abstract

The United States is home to nearly three million Asian Indians. The difference in Asian Indian and American cultures creates a need for Asian Indians to acculturate, upon migration to the U.S. It has been theorized that acculturation becomes harder when the two cultures of contact are dissimilar. Particularly, immigrant women and children have been found to be more vulnerable than men to acculturative stress, where acculturative stress is defined as the psychological impact of adaptation to a new culture. Hence, this study focuses on acculturation of Asian Indian women and specifically on factors influencing their acculturation.

Research findings from this study on acculturation of Asian Indian women provide information, useful for public policy makers. They have been utilized to develop a program (used by settlement service providers) designed specifically to facilitate acculturation of Asian Indian women in the U.S.

A two-dimensional model developed by J.W. Berry, a prominent researcher in the field of acculturation, is employed to classify the acculturation process of Asian Indian women who were part of this study. Based on Berry’s model, the acculturation process of an immigrant can be described by one of the following four strategies: 1) Assimilation, 2) Integration, 3) Separation, or 4) Marginalization. According to Berry, the Integration strategy is considered the most effective acculturation strategy in terms of long-term health and wellbeing of the individual.

This study employed a cross-sectional design, using quantitative methods for data analysis. Data were collected by means of a web-based acculturation survey that was developed as part of the study.

Data analysis indicated that a majority of the Asian Indian women adopted the Integration strategy. A conceptual model was developed and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine the key acculturation factors that influenced Asian Indian women using the Integration strategy. These identified key factors helped to understand the cultural adaptation of Asian Indian women.