issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

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issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

Acculturation experience31cultures impact and influence on each other.While more research is needed to betterunderstand the content and intention of hostsociety’s attitudes and expectations towardsacculturating groups, some authors (e.g.,Horenczyk, 1997; Ward, 1996) have alreadystressed on the impact of these attitudes onimmigrants’ adjustment process.A key phenomenon leading to a positiveadaptation among immigrants is the ways theybalance the cultural maintenance and thecontact interaction with the new society(Berry, 2005; Berry, Kim, Power, Young, &Bujaki, 1989; Phinney, 2002). However, theintegration outcome only takes place whenminority groups adopt some values of thereceiving community, while the dominantgroup accepts institutional and culturalchanges that would reflect the needs of amulticultural society. As Berry, Poortinga,Segall and Dasen (1992) indicated, amulticultural environment needs to establishcertain conditions to promote integration: anextensive acceptance and freedom to expressand maintain cultural diversity; relatively lowlevels of discrimination and racism, positiveattitudes among different ethno culturalgroups; and a certain level of identificationwith the main receiving society.Immigrants’ adjustment outcomes are adirect result of a combination of factors, someof them developed prior to relocation – such asreasons and contexts that lead to immigration,age, educational background, knowledge of thehost country’s language and gender (Berry,1997) or while the acculturation takes place –such as intergroup relationships (Tajfel, 1978;Tajfel & Turner, 1979) where immigrants andhost members’ attitudes and expectations overacculturation influence each other (Horenczyk,1997; Leong, 2008; Nesdale, 2002).Gender and its Impact on AcculturationWhile general patterns related tointernational immigration and acculturationoutcomes have been studied, little work hasfocussed on the gendered nature of theimmigrant experience. According to someresearchers (e.g., Dion & Dion, 2001;Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992; Raijman &Semyonov, 1997), gender compounds theimmigration and acculturation outcomes, asimmigrant women often experience greaterhardships than immigrant men.As the academic interest in femaleimmigration emerged in the United Statesduring the 1970s (Pedraza, 1991; Sinke, 2006),researchers were able to identify that women,especially from minority groups, oftenexperienced discrimination and a complexcombination of challenges, struggles andresponsibilities while adjusting to a new country(Dion & Dion, 2001; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992;Staab, 2004; Sullivan, 1984; Toro-Morn, 1995).This often has negative impacts on their lives,especially in the case of immigrant mothers,who without family support or new establishedsocial networks in the new country had tocombine an overloaded routine of outside work,domestic duties and childcare (Fernández Kelly,2005; Raijman & Semyonov, 1997).The complex phenomenon involved in theadjustment of immigrant women needs to beinvestigated further – especially as theexperiences of immigrant women to Australia islittle evident in the extant literature. Althoughthere is some academic data analysing theacculturation process of Latin Americans inAustralia (Amézquita, Amézquita, & Vittorino,1995; Botzenhart, 2006; Lopez, Haigh, &Burney, 2004) and the subsequent identitychanges of their children (Vittorino, 2003;Zevallos, 2003, 2004), research related to Latinwomen’s acculturation experiences is scarce(Moraes-Gorecki, 1991) and mostly publishedwithin community centres as brief reports( Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs,1985; D'Mello, 1982; Stone, Morales, & Cortes,1996).Latin American Immigration to AustraliaFrom the late 1960s onwards, Australianofficials were sent to South America to developimmigration programs in order to increase theAustralian population. The major LatinAmerican immigration wave occurred during theThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008

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