ERIC Number: ED198025
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Personality, Demographics, and Acculturation in North American Refugees.
Smither, Robert; Rodriquez-Giegling, Marta
This study predicts willingness of refugees to acculturate to North American society based on selected demographic and psychological variables. The hypothesis is that most previous research on refugee adaptation has overemphasized sociological variables such as age, time in the country, and level of education and underemphasized psychological factors such as personality. The sample consisted of 114 Vietnamese refugees enrolled in English classes and 32 Nicaraguan refugees who were drop-in visitors to a Hispanic cultural center. The method involved directing subjects to respond to demographic questions and to a 60-item true-false questionnaire in their respective languages involving psychological dimensions and willingness to acculturate. Responses were analyzed to determine what factors best predicted acculturation scores. Findings indicated that demographic profiles of the two ethnic groups were similar and that demographic factors did not have a significant effect on acculturation scores for either group. Personality factors were also insignificantly correlated with acculturation scores in the Nicaraguan group (possible because Nicaraguans were uncertain whether they could return home or would have to acculturate to life in the United States), but were significantly correlated with acculturation scores for the Vietnamese group. Among all personality factors tested, conscientiousness and likability were the most strongly linked to acculturation scores for the Vietnamese. The conclusion is that although neither demographic nor psychological factors alone can explain acculturation, personality factors outperformed demographic factors in this case study in predicting a willingness to acculturate. The implication of these findings is that acculturation is clearly a psychological as well as a sociological process. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Canada, September 1-4, 1980).