Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment

By Zeev Ben-Sira | Go to book overview

3 Immigration and Stress: A General Overview

THE STRESS-POTENTIAL OF IMMIGRATION

The immigrants' confrontation with significant changes in many areas of their lives, their interpretation of these changes, and their the perception of societal perspectives about immigration impose severe pressures on them. These pressures challenge their available resources ( Espino 1991:106) and may to set into motion an escalating cycle of discord which could harm their well-being and obstruct their adjustment (see Antonovsky 1979; Ben-Sira 1985, 1991; Monat and Lazarus 1991).

The literature on stress often connects migration to stress. In Palinkas' words, inherent in migration is "psychological stress and disorders that accompany the process of leaving a familiar environment and moving into an unfamiliar one" ( Palinkas 1982:235). There is some evidence that the risk of stress increases over time. Williams ( 1991), for instance, suggests a higher prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders among refugees during the final stages of their resettlement. Similarly, Mirsky and Kaushinsky ( 1989) study of American Jewish students in Israel concludes that, over time, the euphoria that dominated the initial stages of their immigration in Israel decreases, while stress increases. Successful culmination of the immigration process requires alleviation of stress, hence restoration of emotional homeostasis--which we shall call "readjustment" (see Ben-Sira 1981, 1983a, 1985, 1991; Berry 1991; Dohrenwend and Dohrenwend 1970; Kuo and Tsai 1986; Pollock 1989; Rumbaut 1991). However, the changes resulting from immigration may also affect the absorbing society or certain groups in that society, requiring their readjustment as well. Thus, successful culmination of the process of immigration may require concomitant readjustment of both the immigrants and the absorbing society.

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Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword - The Academic Work of Zeev Ben-Sira vii
  • Introduction - Immigration-- A Stress-Precipitating Change xi
  • Notes xviii
  • 1 - Immigration--A Desirable Yet Disillusioning Social Change 1
  • 2 - Reasons for Migration and the Absorbing Society's Perspectives 7
  • CONCLUSION: THE EFFECT OF THE INTERPRETATION OF SOCIETAL PERSPECTIVES ON READJUSTMENT 28
  • Notes 28
  • 3 Immigration and Stress: A General Overview 31
  • Conclusion 43
  • Notes 44
  • 4 - Immigration and Readjustment 45
  • SUMMARY 54
  • 5 - Integration 55
  • 6 - Demands, Stressors, and Catalysts 75
  • Note 95
  • 7 - Coping and Resources 97
  • CONCLUSION: THE EFFECT OF IMMIGRATION ON RESOURCES AND POTENCY 119
  • 8 - An Empirical Model of Readjustment 121
  • APPENDICES 137
  • Bibliography 159
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 179
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