Assimilation or integration: Similarities and differences between acculturation attitudes of migrants from Central Asia and Russians in Central Russia
When acculturation strategies of migrants and acculturation expectations of a host society do not coincide, psychological outcomes for members of the groups in contact can differ significantly. Berry (2013) proposed that intercultural relations can be understood on the basis of three hypotheses: the multiculturalism hypothesis, the integration hypothesis, and the contact hypothesis. Our goal was to test these three hypotheses in Russian majority and Asian minority groups. Migrants from Central Asia (N=168; 88 ethnic Uzbeks and 80 ethnic Tajiks) and ethnic Russians (N=158) were surveyed using a self-report questionnaire that included measures developed by the Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies project. Data processing was carried out using Structural Equation Modeling with the Russians and the migrants separately. We found significant and positive relationships between perceived security and multicultural ideology in both groups. We found a positive relationship between intercultural contacts and the integration strategy among the migrants from Central Asia. Intercultural contacts in the group of Russians was positively related to the expectation of integration and negatively related to the expectation of assimilation. The integration strategy of the migrants was positively related to their self-esteem, while the assimilation strategy was positively related to their sociocultural adaptation and life satisfaction. Among the Russians, the integration expectation promoted their better life satisfaction and self-esteem. The multiculturalism hypothesis was partially supported with both the migrants from Central Asia and the Russians: perceived security promoted an acceptance of multicultural ideology but didn’t promote ethnic tolerance. The contact hypothesis was partially supported in both groups: interethnic contacts were positively linked to the integration strategy of the migrants and the integration expectations of the Russians. The integration hypothesis was fully supported in the sample of Russians and partially supported in the sample of migrants. The migrants’ adoption of the assimilation strategy promoted their life satisfaction and sociocultural adaptation.