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Cross-Cultural Research Proposal- Acculturative Stress

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Running Head: RESEARCH PROPOSAL 1

Research Proposal:
Examining the Effects of Acculturative Stress in Immigrants
Christine Kreutzer
University of Central Florida

Running Head: RESEARCH PROPOSAL 2
Research Proposal:
Examining the Effects of Acculturative Stress in Immigrants
Objective:
This study proposes to examine if acculturative stress experienced by German and Japanese immigrants in the United States results in any long term effects, specifically in terms of mental illness. Stressors associated with immigration have been found to be harmful, and is especially important to examine because of ever rising rates of immigration in the United States. This proposed study will attempt to show any possible long term effects in terms of mental illness.
Literature Review: Acculturation is the process by which a member belonging to one culture must adopt the behavior and beliefs of another cultural group. This process is typically experienced by minority immigrants that have to adapt to a dominant culture. This is known as acculturative stress. Acculturative stress occurs in somatic (or biological), psychological, and social forms (Lecture, 2011). Arbona, Olvera, Rodriguez, Hagan, Linares, and Wiesner (2010) looked at the acculturative stress experienced by documented and undocumented Latino immigrants in the United States. They describe acculturative stress as the mental reaction prompted by the individual’s “appraisal of specific events and circumstances” in their lives (p.364). The level of acculturative stress experienced by the individual is dependent upon how the individual interprets or appraises the situation. Arbona, Olvera, Rodriguez, Hagan, Linares, and Wiesner (2010) examined documented and undocumented Latino immigrants in the following aspects: the prevalence of
Running Head: RESEARCH PROPOSAL 3 immigration-related challenges (those not directly related to legal status, disconnection from family, language ability, and traditionality), fear of deportation, and levels of familial acculturative stress. To test all of this, the researchers gave their participants a demographic questionnaire, an English proficiency test, and The Spanish version of the Hispanic Stress Inventory–Immigrant form (HSI-I). Results showed that although undocumented immigrants reported higher levels of stress in terms of separation from family, traditionality, and language difficulties than documented immigrants, both groups reported comparable levels of fear of deportation. Results also showed that the immigration challenges and undocumented status were correlated with extra-familial acculturative stress (but not with intra-familial acculturative stress). Only the fear of deportation appeared to be an indicator of both extra-familial and intra-familial acculturative stress. Mejı´a and McCarthy (2010) examined migrant farmwork college students in terms of college stress, acculturative stress, depression, anxiety, and academic achievement. These items were measured through a demographic questionnaire, The Undergraduate College Stress Questionnaire, The Acculturation Stress Scale, the CES-D instrument, and the anxiety subscale of the Symptom Check List-90-R. They found that migrant students reported a higher rate of acculturative stress than non-migrant students. When language preference was held constant, they found much higher rates of anxiety and depression in migrants (55% as opposed to 20% of the normal population). Their results showed a high correlation between anxiety and depression. Yakhnich (2008) looked at the adaptation process of immigrants from the Soviet Union in Israel as a multiple stressor situation. To examine this, participants completed inventories which measured cognitive appraisals of three primary immigration stressors; employment, language,
Running Head: RESEARCH PROPOSAL 4 and housing difficulties Level of distress (which was indicated by depression and anxiety) was also assessed. The results showed positive correlations among cognitive appraisals of the different stressors, as well as between the coping strategies applied to them. This indicated mutual influences amongst stressors in a multiple-stressor situation.
Method
Participants Thirty participants will be asked to participate in this study. Fifteen will be German immigrants and fifteen will be Japanese immigrants. They must be living in the United States for less than three years.
Materials
A longitudinal study will be performed. Demographic questionnaires and interviews will be conducted.
Procedure
Participants will sign a consent form. Each year, participants will be given a comprehensive demographic questionnaire. In addition, interviews will be conducted with each participant in order to asses potential changes in mental distress correlated with immigration. Participants will be assessed using these methods annually for ten years. The demographic questionnaires and interviews attained from each participant will be compared and assessed for changes in terms of mental distress over time.

Running Head: RESEARCH PROPOSAL 5
References
Consuelo Arbona, Norma Olvera, Nestor Rodriguez, Jacqueline Hagan, Adriana Linares and Margit Wiesner (2010) Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2010 32: 362 doi: 10.1177/0739986310373210
Mejia, O.L, & McCarthy, C.J. (2010), Acculturative stress, depression, and anxiety in migrant farmwork college students of Mexican heritage. International Journal of Stress Management, 17(1), 1-20. doi:10.1037/a0018119
Yakhnich, L. (2008) Immigration as a multiple-stressor situation: Stress and coping among immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel. International Journal Of Stress Management, 15(3), 252-268. doi:10.1037/a0013002

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