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Enmeshment and acculturative stress in Chinese immigrant families in Canada Leung, Pansy

Abstract

While the first entry of Chinese immigrants to Canada dates back to more than a century, in 1967 when the Canadian immigration policy changed, Chinese immigrants from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan became the top source of migration. Over the past few decades, the process of acculturation and mental health of Chinese immigrants has received attention in cross-cultural research. Researchers are particularly interested in investigating the stress experienced by immigrants during the process of acculturation and the ways of dealing with such stress. The thesis reports on a study that explores acculturative stress, length of residence, and cohesion of Chinese immigrants in Canada. The results from this study showed that enmeshment (a high level of family cohesion or family togetherness) and flexibility (a high level of adaptability to change family rules and roles) are related to a lower level of acculturative stress in Chinese immigrant mothers in Vancouver, British Columbia. Of particular interest was the effect of cohesion and adaptability on the social dimension of acculturative stress. Additionally, the results showed that length of residence did not predict acculturative stress in Chinese immigrant families. Limitations, contributions, and implications of the present study for future acculturation research are discussed.

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