Multiple Belongings and Psychological Well-Being Among Immigrants and the Second Generation in Canada
Understanding and managing increasing cultural diversity arising from immigration has become a prominent public issue in Canada and other immigrant resettlement countries. One issue discussed is the degree to which immigrants orient themselves to the new society and to their heritage cultures and religions. Another issue is the success that immigrants achieve in the receiving country, particularly their psychological well-being. Of central concern is the possible relationship between how immigrants orient themselves to their cultural and religious groups and their well-being; is there a way of living interculturally that is associated with better outcomes? This article examines these issues with large samples of immigrants and their descendants in Canada, using the concepts and measures of sense of belonging, religious identity, life satisfaction and mental health. Findings show that having multiple identities is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and mental health. However, this general finding varies according to which identities are strong, and by religious group. These findings suggest that the promotion of both Canadian and heritage identities and of a religious identity among immigrants is the best path to achieve higher levels of psychological well-being in the multicultural Canadian society.