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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Assessing acculturation over time: A four-year prospective study of Asian American young adults

  • Author(s): Murray, KE
  • Klonoff, EA
  • Garcini, LM
  • Ullman, JB
  • Wall, TL
  • Myers, MG
  • et al.

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© 2013 American Psychological Association. Acculturation is commonly defined as a dynamic and multidimensional process in which individuals and groups change over time when coming into contact with another culture. Despite the emphasis on acculturation as a process of change over time, few researchers have directly assessed this hypothesis. The current study first identifies and then examines "stable" and "dynamic" dimensions of acculturation within a 4-year prospective study of 433 first-and second-generation Chinese and Korean American college students. Separate growth model analyses revealed significant linear change for first-generation students toward greater U.S. acculturation. In comparison, tests of linear and quadratic change for second-generation students were not significant. When stratifying by gender, acculturation increased for women but there was no significant change in acculturation for men. Although all students reported increases in alcohol consumption over the study period, changes in acculturation predicted changes in alcohol consumption only for women. Chinese men showed greater increases in alcohol consumption than Korean men but there was no effect for ethnicity among women. There was significant individual variability in the models, which underscores the importance of examining change prospectively through within and between person analyses. The findings highlight the importance of examining acculturation changes over time for different migrant groups with implications for further development of acculturation measures, research methodologies, and health interventions. More prospective research designs of acculturation are needed to examine changes in health behavior and overall adaptation across migrant groups at varying stages of development.

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