Acculturation and Psychological Adaptation

Acculturation and Psychological Adaptation

Acculturation and Psychological Adaptation

Acculturation and Psychological Adaptation

Synopsis

This volume examines the effects of intercultural contact and acculturation on individuals' feelings of self-regard in Latin American settings, revealing general aspects of the acculturation processes that may apply across groups and specific outcomes. It focuses on the effects of acculturation on self-esteem among adolescents. Opening with an account of relevant theoretical and empirical literature on interethnic contact and acculturation, it represents an "acid test" of the cross-cultural applicability of theory and method largely derived from research on acculturation to North American and European settings. Much research has focused on acculturation processes among ethnic immigrants and ethnic minorities leading to the impression that host or majority groups remain unchangeable during acculturation. By contrast, this volume shows that psychological changes occur in all groups involved in the contact, reinforcing the idea that acculturation is a special case of mutual influence.

Excerpt

What can be said about ethnic intergroup relations in a country that up to now rarely has had the opportunity to analyze this topic empirically? This book contains an initial and ambitious analysis of intergroup relations in Costa Rica, the author's native land, which has witnessed little social psychological work.

Vanessa Smith Castro provides an excellent review of a range of social psychological theories that are woven together: theories of acculturation, ethnic identity, stereotypes, prejudice, intergroup contact, and self-esteem. the models' theoretical implications were tested on a data set of about 1,174 Costa Rican high school students who participated in the main study. With a variety of sophisticated methods, the analyses reveal that the theoretical predictions also hold for the Costa Rican cultural context. Thus, the book is an empirical cross-national validation of theories of North American and European origin.

This volume, then, is an important and groundbreaking work. It affords a valuable model for future research on intergroup relations in nations without an established body of work in the area. Its multifaceted point of view makes it highly useful for readers interested in intergroup relations theory and research as well as for professionals and scholars who specialize in intercultural comparisons.

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