AN EXPANDED VIEW OF ACCULTURATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR RISK TAKING BEHAVIORS AMONG COLLEGE-ATTENDING IMMIGRANT EMERGING ADULTS Seth J. Schwartz, Ph.D. University of Miami October 21, 2010 IMMIGRATION AND ACCULTURATION Immigration is at an all-time high, both in the United States and in many other Western countries (van de Vijver & Phalet, 2004; Schwartz, Montgomery, & Briones, 2006). Since 1965, most immigration to the United States has come from heavily collectivist countries in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean (Portes & Rumbaut, 2006). There is also a steady flow of White immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe (Birman & Taylor-Ritzler, 2007; Hinkel, 2000). The U.S. is consistently rated as the most individualistic country in the world (Hofstede, 2001) – suggesting that the gap between immigrants’ heritage cultures and U.S. culture may be large. IMMIGRATION AND ACCULTURATION In most cases, immigration is followed by acculturation – changes in cultural practices, values, and identifications that accompany contact with people from the receiving cultural context. Early views of acculturation were unidimensional – immigrants were assumed to discard their cultures of origin as they acculturated to the receiving society (e.g., Gordon, 1964): HERITAGE CULTURE RECEIVING CULTURE IMMIGRATION AND ACCULTURATION In more recent years, cultural psychologists have adopted a bidimensional model of acculturation – where heritage and receiving cultural orientations are considered as separate dimensions. HERITAGE RECEIVING MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF ACCULTURATION Acculturation is multidimensional in terms of heritage and receiving cultural orientations – but it is also multidimensional in terms of the domains in which it operates: 1. Cultural practices refer to behaviors such as language use, media preferences, social relationships, and celebrations; 2. Cultural values refer to beliefs and ideals associated with specific cultural contexts (e.g., machismo in Hispanics, modesty in Southeast Asians) – as well as more general cultural values such as individualism and collectivism; and 3. Cultural identifications refer to the extent to which one feels attached to one’s ethnic and national groups. MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF ACCULTURATION So acculturation is multidimensional in two separate ways: Heritage language Heritage-culture foods HERITAGE PRACTICES Collectivism Interdependence Familism VALUES Country of origin IDENTIFICATIONS Receiving-society language Receiving-culture foods Individualism Independence RECEIVING Receiving country Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., & Szapocznik, J. (2010). Rethinking the concept of acculturation: Implications for theory and research. American Psychologist, 65, 237251. MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF ACCULTURATION However, the literatures on behavioral acculturation, cultural values, and cultural identifications have been largely separate from one another (Schwartz, Unger, Zamboanga, & Szapocznik, 2010). The purpose of the study I’m presenting here was to examine all of these dimensions of acculturation as predictive of health risk behaviors in a sample of young-adult college students from immigrant families. THE IMMIGRANT PARADOX One might think that moving from a resource-poor country to a wealthy nation like the United States would be associated with a drastic improvement in health outcomes. However, research has shown just the opposite!! The longer that immigrants live in the United States (or the more acculturated they are to American culture), the more likely they are to: •Use illicit drugs (Allen, Elliot, Fuligni, Morales, Hambarsoomian, & Schuster, 2008); •Engage in unsafe sexual practices (Ford & Norris, 1993); •Consume fast food and be physically inactive (Unger et al., 2004). THE IMMIGRANT PARADOX A similar conclusion has been drawn between first-generation (born outside the US) and second-generation (born in the US but raised by immigrant parents) individuals (Prado et al., 2009). The message from these studies seems to be that, among immigrants and their immediate descendants, becoming Americanized is hazardous to your health!! ? THE IMMIGRANT PARADOX However, virtually all of these studies have relied on unidimensional models of acculturation, where heritage and receiving cultural orientations were cast as polar opposites. As a result, we don’t really know whether the risk is based on acquiring American orientations, or losing heritage orientations. A more precise understanding of where the risks of “acculturation” come from would help us to know how to advise researchers, educators, policy makers, and the public. THE IMMIGRANT PARADOX The acculturation experience can be very different depending on one’s ethnicity (Schwartz et al., 2010; Steiner, 2009) – suggesting that we should examine effects of acculturation separately for each ethnic group (Sue & Chu, 2003). METHOD Sample •3,251 emerging-adult students (72% women) from 30 colleges and universities around the United States. •Mean age 20.2; SD 3.31 (97% between 18 and 29) •All participants reported that both of their parents were born outside the United States. METHOD Ethnicity and Immigrant Generation 1st Generation 2nd Generation Total White 184 (65%) 99 (35%) 283 Black 146 (38%) 236 (62%) 382 Hispanic 457 (38%) 740 (62%) 1,197 East Asian 358 (38%) 589 (62%) 947 South Asian 123 (42%) 172 (58%) 295 Middle Eastern 32 (33%) 64 (67%) 96 South African 11 (44%) 14 (56%) 25 Ethnic Group METHOD Most Common Countries of Origin Whites – the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, Poland, and Great Britain; Blacks – Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and various African countries; Hispanics – Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Peru; East Asians – China, Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines; South Asians – India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; Middle Eastern – Lebanon, Palestine, and Iran. METHOD Measures – Cultural Practices Stephenson Multigroup Acculturation Scale – 32 items (15 for American cultural practices, 17 for heritage cultural practices) •Items indexing language use, food preferences, friends, media, et cetera. •Heritage cultural practices – α = .89 •American cultural practices – α = .83 METHOD Measures – Cultural Values Three kinds of cultural values were measured: •Horizontal individualism and collectivism – how one conceptualizes others at the same social level (e.g., peers, coworkers); •Vertical individualism and collectivism – how one conceptualizes authority figures and elders (e.g., parents, bosses, teachers); METHOD Measures – Cultural Values Three kinds of cultural values were measured: •Independence and interdependence – how one relates to others in general. METHOD Measures – Cultural Values Individualism and collectivism were assessed using 4-item scales developed by Triandis and Gelfand (1995): Alphas ranged from .74 to .78. METHOD Measures – Cultural Values Independence and interdependence were assessed using the Self-Construal Scale (Singelis, 1994). Independence – 12 items, α = .74; Interdependence – 12 items, α = .77. METHOD Measures – Cultural Identifications Ethnic identity was measured using the Multi-Group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM; Phinney, 1992). The MEIM consists of 12 items (α = .90) measuring the extent to which one has thought about, and is attached to, one’s ethnic group. We adapted the MEIM to measure American identity by changing “my ethnic group” to “the United States” for each item (α = .90) . METHOD Measures – Health Risk Behaviors We assessed hazardous alcohol use, along with a number of other risky behaviors. Hazardous alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT; Saunders et al., 1993) In the present sample, Cronbach’s α was .79. METHOD Measures – Health Risk Behaviors We asked about other health risk behaviors in the 30 days prior to assessment: Drug Use Marijuana, hard drugs, inhalants, injecting drugs, prescription drug misuse Sexual Risk Taking Oral sex, anal sex, unprotected sexual activity, sex while drunk/high, casual sex (sex with a stranger). METHOD Measures – Health Risk Behaviors We asked about other health risk behaviors in the 30 days prior to assessment: Risky Driving Driving while intoxicated, and riding with a driver who was intoxicated. METHOD Procedures •Online data collection between September 2007 and October 2009 •30 sites around the United States •Students from psychology, sociology, education, and family studies courses directed to study website •85% of participants who logged in completed all six survey pages RESULTS Correlations among Cultural Variables We first computed a table of correlations among the cultural variables: Variable 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .17 .18 .14 .44 -.17 .12 -.01 .21 -.03 ------ .41 .40 .29 .21 .21 .00 .37 .27 --------- .46 .38 .18 .20 .15 .29 .25 --------- .27 .25 .07 .21 .21 .29 --------- .12 .24 .08 .31 .25 --------- .22 .12 .32 .54 --------- .23 .48 .15 --------- .21 .16 --------- .28 Heritage Orientation 1. Heritage Practices 2. Horizontal Collectivism 3. Vertical Collectivism 4. Interdependence 5. Ethnic Identity American Orientation 6. American Practices 7. Horizontal Individualism 8. Vertical Individualism 9. Independence 10. American Identity --------- RESULTS Correlations among Cultural Variables It is of note that the corresponding heritage and American cultural variables were generally modestly correlated with one another: •Heritage practices with American practices, r = -.17; •Horizontal individualism with horizontal collectivism, r = .21; •Vertical individualism with vertical collectivism, r = .15; •Independence with interdependence, r = .21; •Ethnic identity with American identity, r = .25. RESULTS Risk Behaviors by Heritage and American Cultural Orientations We then proceeded to examine the associations of heritage and American orientations with health risk behaviors. These models took the following form: Heritage Practices Heritage Values Heritage Identifications American Practices American Values American Identifications Health Risk Behaviors RESULTS Creating Composite Variables for Cultural Values Because we had three indicators for American values, and three for heritage values, we used exploratory factor analysis to extract composite indicators for each of these constructs. Single factors emerged from both the heritage and American values indicators: American Values: eigenvalue 1.67, 55.62% of variability explained, factor loadings ranged from .57 to .82; Heritage Values: eigenvalue 1.93, 64.48% of variability explained; factor loadings ranged from .78 to .82. RESULTS Creating Subscales for Health Risk Behaviors We then created subscales for Illicit Drug Use, Sexual Risk Taking, and Impaired Driving by summing the scores for the individual behaviors within each category. Spearman-Brown reliability coefficients for these subscales were: Illicit drug use, .84; Sexual risk taking, .73; and Impaired driving, .67. RESULTS Poisson Regression: Health Risk Behaviors by Heritage and American Cultural Orientations The risk behavior subscales followed a Poisson distribution, where the mode is zero and frequencies decrease with increasing values: RESULTS In Poisson regression, the unstandardized regression coefficient can be converted into an incidence rate ratio (IRR) by taking the exponential (inverse natural logarithm). When we estimated the regression model on the sample as a whole, no significant findings emerged. Following Sue and Chu (2003), we divided the sample by ethnic group and re-estimated the model separately on each group. Following guidelines suggested by Shieh (2001), we included only those groups with n ≥ 200 – Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, East Asians, and South Asians. RESULTS Whites For Whites from immigrant families, the following results emerged: Predictor Health Risk Subscale β/IRR (95% CI) Heritage Practices Impaired Driving 0.48*** (0.35 to 0.65) Heritage Values Impaired Driving 0.56** (0.37 to 0.85) RESULTS Blacks For Blacks from immigrant families, the following results emerged: Predictor Health Risk Subscale β/IRR (95% CI) Heritage Identity Hazardous Alcohol Use American Identity Illicit Drug Use 0.79* (0.63 to 0.99) Heritage Practices Impaired Driving 0.84* (0.72 to 0.98) -.11* RESULTS Hispanics For Hispanics from immigrant families, the following results emerged: Predictor Health Risk Subscale β/IRR (95% CI) Heritage Practices Illicit Drug Use 0.87*** (0.82 to 0.93) Heritage Values Illicit Drug Use 0.88*** (0.82 to 0.94) Heritage Identifications Illicit Drug Use 1.06* (1.01 to 1.18) Heritage Values Sexual Risk Taking 0.91*** (0.87 to 0.96) Heritage Identifications Sexual Risk Taking 1.06* (1.01 to 1.12) RESULTS East Asians For East Asians from immigrant families, the following results emerged: Predictor Health Risk Subscale American Identifications Hazardous Alcohol Use β/IRR (95% CI) .09* American Values Illicit Drug Use 0.85* (0.73 to 0.99) American Practices Sexual Risk Taking 1.19** (1.05 to 1.34) RESULTS South Asians For South Asians from immigrant families, the following results emerged: Predictor Health Risk Subscale β American Values Hazardous Alcohol Use .16*** Heritage Identifications Hazardous Alcohol Use -.27*** CONCLUSIONS There are a few important points to take away from these results: 1. Acculturation is clearly not a unidimensional phenomenon, where acquiring American cultural orientations means discarding one’s heritage orientations. 2. Acculturation is also multidimensional in terms of the processes that are assumed to change – where practices, values, and identifications represent separate but related components of acculturation. 3. The present results also support Sue and Chu’s (2003) contention that acculturation is related differently to health outcomes for different ethnic groups. CONCLUSIONS With some exceptions, the present results do not support the “immigrant paradox,” where acquiring American orientations is assumed to be associated with increased health risks and problems. Rather, it appears to be loss of heritage cultural orientations – especially traditional practices and collectivist values – that is associated with health risks in the present sample. Interestingly, American practices, values, and identifications appeared to be most harmful for East and South Asians, and less so for other ethnic groups. This may be because, among immigrant groups, Asians are among the most likely to prefer English over their heritage languages (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001, 2006). CONCLUSIONS Also interestingly, for Hispanics, heritage identifications were positively associated with drug use and sexual risk taking. One possible reason for this might be that current immigration debates center largely around Hispanic immigrants (e.g., Huntington, 2004). Especially when the correlation between heritage practices and identifications is controlled (as is the case in regression approaches), the unique variability in heritage identifications might index defensive ethnic identifications (reactive ethnicity; Rumbaut, 2008). This is especially tenable given that most of the Hispanics in our sample came from Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California – all states where immigration is a divisive issue. CONCLUSIONS So, to sum up: •Acculturation is a complex process, and this complexity needs to be taken into account when conducting health-related research (Schwartz et al., 2010). •Acculturation is not a “one size fits all” experience. Depending on their ethnicity – and likely their receiving context as well – individuals go through the acculturation process differently (Steiner, 2009), and the process is differentially associated with health outcomes.