The Cultural Adjustment and Mental Health of Japanese Immigrant Youth

By Yeh, Christine J.; Arora, Agnes K. et al. | Adolescence, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

The Cultural Adjustment and Mental Health of Japanese Immigrant Youth


Yeh, Christine J., Arora, Agnes K., Inose, Mayuko, Okubo, Yuki, Li, Robin H., Greene, Pamela, Adolescence


There are about eight hundred thousand Japanese Americans, making them the sixth largest Asian American group (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000), and 47% of Japanese Americans belong to the first and second generations. Although Japanese immigrant youth are steadily increasing in the United States, a limited number of studies have examined their experiences in adjusting to a new culture (Rosenthal & Feldman, 1990; Padilla, Wagatsuma, & Lindholm, 1985). Accordingly, the present research investigates Japanese immigrant adolescents' experiences in the adaptation process (i.e., their cultural adjustment) in the United States.

Acculturation

Acculturation refers to changes in identification, social skills, attitudes, values, and behavioral norms that groups and individuals undergo when they come in contact with another culture (Rosenthal & Feldman, 1990). Acculturation has been conceptualized as a resocialization process (Taft, 1985, 1986), with the assumption that increased contact with the host culture will lead to a shift away from the values, attitudes, and behaviors of the culture of origin. While some immigrants adjust willingly and easily to the new culture, other immigrants have strong attachments to their culture of origin and find such a transition difficult (Cheung, 1989). Several studies (e.g., Sodowsky, Lai, & Plake, 1991; Padilla et al., 1985) have found that first-generation Asian Americans experience significantly more acculturative stress than second or later generations.

Research on new immigrants and refugees has largely focused on adults, and the immigrant youth has been neglected (e.g., Roysircar-Sodowsky & Maestas, 2000; Sodowsky & Carey, 1987; Sodowsky et al., 1991). Due to the fact that adolescence is a critical period of development (Herring, 1997), examining the adjustment process of adolescents is especially relevant.

Berry and colleagues (Berry, Kim, Power, Young, & Bujaki, 1989; Berry & Sam, 1997) have identified four coping strategies that individuals use in the acculturation process: assimilation (interaction with individuals from the host culture and devaluation of one's own culture), integration (maintenance of one's culture as well as interaction with individuals from the host culture), marginalization (rejection of one's culture of origin as well as avoidance of individuals from the host culture), and separation (maintenance of one's culture of origin and minimal interaction with other groups, especially individuals from the host culture). While it is possible that the acculturation process will proceed without any problems, it may also be stressful and result in adaptation difficulties (Berry, 1997).

The strategies described above are just some of the factors that have been found to be significantly associated with the mental health of immigrants and refugees in the United States (Krishnan & Berry, 1992; Sam, 1994; Sam & Berry, 1995), with integration identified as the most adaptive and marginalization as the least adaptive (Berry, 1997; Berry & Sam, 1997; Sam & Berry, 1995). Further, La-Fromboise, Coleman, and Gerton (1993) have proposed that individuals may develop the ability to negotiate two cultures comfortably without sacrificing their identification with either culture. It is also important to understand that race and ethnicity play an important role in the identity and acculturation processes (Alvarez, Kohatsu, Liu, & Yeh, 1996).

Ethnic Identity

Ethnic identity is another factor that contributes to the complex process of acculturation for immigrants. It has been described as an enduring, fundamental aspect of self that includes a sense of connection to an ethnic group, and the attitudes and feelings associated with membership in that group (Bernal & Knight, 1993; Keefe, 1992; Phinney, 1990). Ethnic identity has also been conceptualized as multidimensional and dynamic (Phinney, 1996; Jeffres, 1983; Sue & Sue, 1990; Yeh & Hwang, 2000), involving attitudes, values, and behaviors, and evolving with changes in social contexts, family interactions, and geographic location (Yeh & Huang, 1996). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Cultural Adjustment and Mental Health of Japanese Immigrant Youth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.