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Ethnic and Religious Identification, Acculturation Attitudes and the Socio-Economic Adaptation of Immigrants

This article describes the construction and testing of a theoretical model of the socio-economic adaptation (SEA) of immigrants, considering psychological factors as basic. In the analysis of previous studies, acculturation attitudes of immigrants were identified as key psychological factors of SEA for the construction of a theoretical model; the length of stay in the host country and language skills were used as control variables; ethnic and religious identification were used as predictors of acculturation attitudes. A survey of Russian-speaking immigrants in Belgium was carried out and path analysis was used to test the model. We found that (1) acculturation attitudes of immigrants is associated with their level of SEA independently, i.e. regardless of length of stay in the host country or language skills; (2) a high level of SEA is positively associated with orientation toward the host society (integration and assimilation), and negatively associated with orientation toward their own ethnic group (separation); (3) strong ethnic and religious identification may facilitate the orientation of immigrants to their ethnic group, and strong ethnic identification prevents assimilation.