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The Behavioral Inhibition System as a possible component of vulnerability to the development of acculturative stress related anxiety: A mechanistic approach to social identity conflict and integration


For roughly two hundred thousand years, our species has been migrating across this globe. Increasingly, our migrations include intercultural contact. Those who immigrate face a dynamic process of acculturation, as they navigate and adapt to the mainstream culture of a new society. This process includes both challenges and rewards. Challenges may include pressure to adopt new cultural values and behaviors, or psychological stress when reconciling two cultures. Rewards may include the integration of new cultural identities. These experiences are increasingly reported to impact psychological well-being in distinct ways. Yet, it is not well understood how the acculturation process impacts mental health. Therefore, I investigate and test a mechanistic-level explanation of how acculturation processes involving identity conflict and integration may impact mental health as it relates to the development of anxiety. While predictions are largely unsupported, results likely reflect limitations inherent in the use of a dataset collected using methods not designed with intention to test conceptual models reviewed from and integrated with prior literature. Direct tests of the models proposed are merited.

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