UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Being in between : discovering the identities of emerging adult immigrants Cohen, Julie-Anne


The proposed research aimed to discover the ways in which emerging adult immigrants negotiate their cultural identities within the context of both cultural and developmental transition. Using a grounded theory research design, 10 intensive-interviews were conducted with emerging adult immigrants, ages 19-27, who had immigrated and saw Canada as their long-term home. Emerging data was analyzed and results of this study yielded a conceptual model of cultural identity formation (MCIF) for emerging adult immigrants. The MCIF suggests that One’s Motivation and Sense of Agency to Create a New Identity is at the core of participant’s navigation of cultural identities. Additionally, the MCIF for emerging adult immigrants outlined six higher-order categories (1) Family Cultural Rigidity, (2) Connections Specific to Canada, (3) Connection to a Same Cultured Community, (4) Sense of Permanency, (5) Desire to Preserve Culture of Origin, (6) Desire to fit in to Canadian Culture, as well as two overarching factors (a) Dimension of Time and the (b) Dimension of Age that were found to be influential on participant’s overall sense of cultural identities (Blended, Dual, Disconnected, Intermediate). The present model and accompanying theory contributes to a deeper understanding of the lived experiences and sense of cultural selves of emerging adult immigrants during these phases of change. Recommendations for further research are made, as well as recommendations for counsellors working with an emerging adult immigrant population.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada