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Acculturation Strategies Among South Asian Immigrants: The Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Study.

  • Author(s): Needham, Belinda L
  • Mukherjee, Bhramar
  • Bagchi, Pramita
  • Kim, Catherine
  • Mukherjea, Arnab
  • Kandula, Namratha R
  • Kanaya, Alka M
  • et al.
Abstract

In the past, epidemiologic research on acculturation and health has been criticized for its conceptual ambiguity and simplistic measurement approaches. This study applied a widely-used theoretical framework from cross-cultural psychology to identify acculturation strategies among South Asian immigrants in the US and to examine sociodemographic correlates of acculturation strategies. Data were from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America study. We used latent class analysis to identify groups of individuals that were similar based on cultural attitudes and behaviors. We used latent class regression analysis to examine sociodemographic correlates of acculturation strategies. We found that South Asian immigrants employed three acculturation strategies, including separation (characterized by a relatively high degree of preference for South Asian culture over US culture), assimilation (characterized by a relatively high degree of preference for US culture over South Asian culture), and integration (characterized by a similar level of preference for South Asian and US cultures). Respondents with no religious affiliation, those with higher levels of income, those who lived a greater percentage of their lives in the US, and those who spoke English well or very well were less likely to use the separation strategy than the assimilation or integration strategies. Using epidemiologic cohort data, this study illustrated a conceptual and methodological approach that addresses limitations of previous research on acculturation and health. More work is needed to understand how the acculturation strategies identified in this study affect the health of South Asian immigrants in the US.

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