Acculturation and adjustment: A meta-analysis

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Bruce D. Forman - Committee Chair


The effect of acculturation on adjustment was investigated by applying meta-analyses to relevant published studies. Forty-nine studies were examined and 111 samples were extracted for analysis. Eleven classes of adjustment were generated from the samples. They are as follows: extroversion/self-disclosure, self-esteem/self-concept, internal locus of control, career conflict, addiction, affective/impulse control disorders, field independence, family conflict, anxiety disorders/stress, intelligence/achievement, and psychosocial/health problems. The results indicated that the effect of acculturation was not consistent in any of the 11 classes. Part of the lack of within class consistency may have resulted from variation in the way that acculturation and the adjustment constructs were measured across studies. An additional portion of the variance was accounted for by sample diversity in ethnicity, socioeconomic status, acculturation level, and age. Specifically, conflict and pathology increased slightly with acculturation among low SES non-Asian samples. Mastery of Western style cognitive skills also appeared to increase with acculturation. The findings lend support to the view that acculturation is a process of adaptation and that it can be accompanied by stress and/or conflict. Adaptive coping behaviors may be facilitated if the acculturating individual can attain upward class mobility. When examining adjustment, the acculturation researcher should therefore consider operationalizing the concepts of social inequality, psychological stress, and coping.


Education, Educational Psychology

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