Immigrant acculturation and wellbeing across generations and settlement contexts in Canada
When immigrants settle into their new societies, variations in their wellbeing are commonly found, due to a number of factors: their generation; their specific settlement context; and their acculturation strategies. With respect to settlement context, the policy of multiculturalism in Canada and of interculturalism in Quebec, provide different contexts for immigrant acculturation and wellbeing. Acculturation strategies are assessed with measures of sense of belonging to Canada and to the province of residence: Canada and Province (strong sense of belonging to both); either Canada only or province only (strong belonging to one or to the other); and neither (strong to neither). Wellbeing is assessed by scales of Life Satisfaction and Mental Health. This study examines whether these context differences may be associated with variations in the acculturation strategies and wellbeing among immigrants and later generations. Samples of adult immigrants and subsequent generations were drawn from those who live in Québec and in the rest of Canada. The distribution of the four profiles among immigrants did not differ between Québec and the rest of Canada. However, among later generations, the ‘Canada only’ profile is lower, while the ‘province only’ is higher, in Québec than in the rest of Canada. These findings suggest a drawing away from identifying with Canada, and an increase in identifying with Québec, in later generations in Québec. This pattern is consistent with the goals of the different incorporation policies in Québec and the rest of Canada. Wellbeing was generally higher in the group with high sense of belonging to both Canada and Québec, and Mental Health was higher in Québec than in the Rest of Canada in all three generations. Implications of these findings for acculturation and settlement policy are discussed.