Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment

By Zeev Ben-Sira | Go to book overview

Trust in Society

Trust in society is an important component of potency. However, as we saw, the image of Israeli society held by the immigrants is much less positive than that held by the veterans (Table 24) and may even deteriorate with time (Table 25), particularly with respect to social relations (both between Ashkenazim and Sephardim and between veterans and immigrants; see Table 23).


CONCLUSION: THE EFFECT OF IMMIGRATION ON RESOURCES AND POTENCY

As stated several times, an acute threat to an individual's emotional homeostasis is a result of both the stress-potential and the salience of demands confronting that individual. Almost any demand, if inadequately met, has the potential of disturbing homeostasis (see Kessler 1983:268). This chapter, then, addresses the differential availability and effectiveness of resources for moderating the salience of demands. Specifically, it focuses on the ability of immigrants, relative to veterans, to cope effectively with the demands confronting them. The major findings from the data are that immigrants have fewer resources and that these resources are less effective, a problematic combination given the demands immigrants must face. The data suggest first, the inadequacy of individual and primary environmental resources to fulfill a compensatory function on the one hand, and a greater reliance on secondary environmental resources on the other; and second, the relative weakness of both the level and the effectiveness of the immigrants' feeling of "potency" as a stress-buffering mechanism. Because of all these, they are prone to the disruption of their emotional homeostasis (see Table 11, which points to their vulnerability to maladjustment, and Tables 13 to 15, which show their poorer level of health).

To what extent do these findings raise questions regarding the effectiveness of potency over and above that of resources in general? One would expect potency to contribute a certain degree of stability, despite the extreme life-change. For instance, Grove and Torbiorn maintain that "[A] person's level of mere adequacy and clarity is, in effect, a personality trait and therefore resistent to change. [However,] it is of course possible that the level's steady course could be disturbed by the shock of entering a new total environment" ( Grove and Torbiorn 1985:211). Though the concepts of adequacy and clarity refer to a different content universe than that of potency, their work suggests that the effectiveness of personality traits which promote adjustment may be weakened in the wake of extreme life-changes.

The data may provide insights as to the factors underlying the complexity of family life in the wake of immigration ( Bavington and Majid 1986; Cohon 1981: 263-265; Gold 1989:423-425; Sluzki 1979; Westermeyer 1991:135-138). Evidence presented here (Table 42) corroborates that documented in numerous studies suggesting the high stress-potential demands in the immigrants' family life. This stress-potential is understandable in view of the difficulties families face

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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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