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Regular version of the site

Article

Immigrant acculturation and wellbeing in Canada

Canadian Psychology. 2016. Vol. 57. No. 4. P. 254-264.
Berry J. W., Hou F.

Much international research has examined the various ways in which immigrants engage both their new society and their heritage culture, and the relationship between these ways of engagement and their wellbeing. The present study examines these ways of engagement and this relationship in a representative sample of 7,000 immigrants to Canada. Immigrants' sense of belonging to their source country and to Canada was used to assess their 2 cultural engagements; life satisfaction and self-rated mental health were used to assess their wellbeing. The study created 4 acculturation strategies from the 2 sense of belonging measures: high sense of belonging to both their source country and to Canada (integration), high for Canada and low for source country (assimilation), low for Canada and high for source country (separation), and low for both (marginalisation). We found that those using the integration and assimilation strategies had the highest scores of life satisfaction (but they did not differ from each other), while separation and marginalisation had significantly lower scores. For mental health, integration and separation had the highest scores (but did not differ from each other), while assimilation and marginalisation had significantly lower scores. We also found that the immigrant sample had significantly higher scores of life satisfaction and mental health than the nonimmigrants sample. In addition to the relationship with acculturation strategies, we examined some demographic and social predictors of life satisfaction and mental health. Some implications for settlement policy and practice and for service to immigrants are discussed.