Oxford Handbook of Acculturation and Health
The Oxford Handbook of Acculturation and Health brings together three very different, but complementary, streams of work: theoretical and methodological “basic” work on acculturation, and applied work linking acculturation to various health outcomes among international migrants and their families, and interventions applying acculturation-related principles to prevent or treat health behaviors or problems. In this volume, the work of landmark acculturation theorists and methodologists appears in the same volume as applied epidemiologic and intervention work on acculturation and public health. This volume highlights theoretical, methodological, and applied research on the study of acculturation in an effort to connect fundamental principles of acculturation theories with research linking these theories to health outcomes. Although the majority of acculturation and health research has been conducted on the experiences of Hispanic immigrants in the United States, the principles featured in this volume are also intended to apply to other immigrant groups in the United States and elsewhere.
This chapter reviews the core meanings of the process of acculturation and its consequences for groups and individuals. At the cultural group level, acculturation involves changes in social structures and institutions and in cultural norms. At the individual psychological level, it involves changes in people’s behavioral repertoires and their eventual adaptation to these intercultural encounters. Three key issues are examined: how people choose to acculturate, how well they adapt to intercultural living, and whether there are any systematic relationships between how people acculturate and how well they adapt. The most common finding is that pursuing the integration strategy is related to higher levels of well-being. This chapter attends in particular to the health outcomes of acculturation, and seeks to outline the key features of this process that may permit the achievement of positive health and social outcomes following intercultural contact.