UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Acculturation, perceived discrimination, gender, and psychological distress among South Asian young adults Shariff, Aneesa


Acculturation theories have recently been updated; perceived discrimination is now thought to moderate the relationship between acculturation style and psychological distress (Berry, 2003). This study tested this hypothesis, along with gender differences in acculturation, perceived discrimination, and perceived discrimination as a moderator in the acculturation-distress relationship. It was thought that differences in gender role expectations for South Asian males and females would suggest possible differences in acculturation style. It was also predicted that differential gender based cultural stereotypes would suggest differences in perceived discrimination and its role in the acculturation-distress relationship for South Asian males versus females. Two hundred twenty second generation South Asian young adults completed an online set of questionnaires assessing acculturation, perceived discrimination, and psychological distress. Contrary to the study hypotheses, there were no significant gender differences in acculturation or perceived discrimination. Additionally, results of structural equation modelling found perceived discrimination did not moderate the relationship between acculturation and psychological distress for the sample overall or for males and females separately. Contrary to existing acculturation research, there was also no significant link found between acculturation preferences and psychological distress. However, there was a moderate and statistically significant direct relationship between perceived discrimination and psychological distress. Current acculturation theories may need revision in light of these findings. Additionally, counsellors should consider the possibility that second generation South Asian clients’ therapeutic issues may be tied to racial discrimination as opposed to acculturation or bicultural identity formation.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International