Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Kok-Mun Ng

Abstract

This research builds upon scholarship that explores the unique immigration-related experiences of self-identified Asian bicultural immigrants born in and outside of the United States of America (USA), complementing other research on immigrants in the country. Previous research suggests immigrants experience multiple challenges that contribute to acculturation stress, which in turn takes a toll on their psychological wellbeing. This study aims to examine the impact of personal and socio-cultural factors on the psychological wellbeing of Asian and Asian American bicultural individuals. Based on the existing biculturalism literature, it was hypothesized that the strength of identification with both cultures (heritage/origin and mainstream/host cultures) is positively related to levels of psychological wellbeing and negatively related with levels of psychological distress. It was also hypothesized that when faced with stressful events, the presence of high individual resilience is positively related to higher levels of psychological wellbeing. Additionally, a relationship between acculturation stress, bicultural identity integration, resilience, and psychological wellbeing was anticipated based on current literature.

In this study, a series of correlational and hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were employed to test the influence of immigrant generational status, acculturation stress, bicultural identity integration, and individual resilience on the psychological wellbeing of 156 self-identified bicultural Asian and Asian American students and affiliated members of a university in the Midwest region of the United States. The study also sought to determine if bicultural identity integration and individual resilience moderated the relationship between acculturation stress and psychological wellbeing. Finally, the study examined whether resilience was associated with bicultural identity integration across the two immigrant samples.

Results indicated that between foreign-born and U.S.-born individuals, foreign-born individuals reported greater acculturation stress and significantly lower psychological wellbeing compared to U.S.-born sample in this study. The relationship between acculturation stress and psychological wellbeing was found to be inversely related—as acculturation stress increased, psychological wellbeing declined. Meanwhile, resilience and bicultural identity integration (harmony and blendedness) were found to be predictive of higher psychological wellbeing. As resilience, BII-harmony, and BII-blendedness increase, psychological wellbeing also increases. However, there were no differences in the strength of the relationship between psychological wellbeing, resilience, and BII-blendedness across generational statuses. Additionally, perceptions of BII-harmony strongly affected the psychological wellbeing, but only among foreign-born immigrants.

Although resilience and bicultural identity integration (harmony and blendedness) did not moderate the relationship between acculturation stress and psychological wellbeing, the results revealed a positive relationship between bicultural identity integration and individual resilience. Limitations of the study are discussed and implications for future research and practice are explored.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

8-2019

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