Publication Date

2014-12-08

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-12-08

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense

2014-08-12

First Committee Member

Guerda Nicolas

Second Committee Member

Isaac Prilleltensky

Third Committee Member

Lydia P. Buki

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel A. Santisteban

Abstract

The effects of social status on well-being are pervasive (American Psychological Association Task Force on Socioeconomic Status, 2006; Marmot, 2004). Social status has been proposed to play a role (Berry, 1987; Padilla & Perez, 2003) in the complex association between both acculturation and acculturative stress and psychological well-being (Koneru, 2007). Subjective Social Status is a promising method of measuring social status (Adler, 2013) that has not been examined in regard to immigrants’ well-being. In an attempt to fill this gap in the literature, this study explored questions about immigrants’ well-being as they acculturate to and deal with acculturative stressors in the United States. In particular, the potential role of subjective social status (SSS) in the acculturation and acculturative stress process was examined. Based on a review of the literature, the expectation was that immigrant perceived social status would be related to well-being, and that this perceived social status would moderate the relationship between acculturation, acculturative stress, and well-being. To explore this hypothesis, two hundred and one adult immigrants were recruited using the Mechanical Turk website. The resulting sample was more acculturated to the United States than their own culture and approximately half the participants identified as non-Latino White/Caucasian. Overall, the results indicated a negative association between acculturative stress with both quality of life and psychological health. Increased acculturation was also positively associated with quality of life and psychological health. Regression analysis also indicated that subjective social status moderated the association between acculturative stress and well-being. The results make the novel contribution that SSS is relevant to immigrants’ well-being. Future research should be conducted in populations that are less acculturated to the United States and examine the factors that affect immigrant’s subjective experience of status. Limitations and further direction for future study focusing on subjective social status in immigrants are discussed.

Keywords

Subjective Social Status; Acculturation; Acculturative Stress; Social Status; Well-being; Immigrants

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