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The relationship between acculturative stress and perceived locus of control expectancies in recently arrived refugees Entin, Martha


Refugees often experience traumatic life events causing loss of home, family members, and social support networks. The process of adjusting to a new culture challenges, confuses and often invalidates an individual's previous sense of identity status, and perceived level of control. The greater the disparity between the refugee culture and the new host culture, the greater the difficulty will be in the adjustment, contributing to acculturative stress (Berry, 1980; Pedersen, in press). How an individual responds to this situation of stress, may be influenced by their perceived locus of control. Cawte's Stress Inventory Scale (1972) was used to measure acculturative stress (Berry, Kim, Minde & Mok, 1987). Levenson's (1974) Internal Powerful Others and Chance Locus of Control Scales were used to measure internal and external locus of control. Four open-ended questions were included to provide information regarding areas of difficulty and sources of assistance. The population was selected from El Salvadoreans refugees, who have been living in the Greater Vancouver area. It was expected that perceived locus of control would correlate with levels of acculturative stress, and that differences between gender, age and education levels and levels of stress and locus of control would be discerned. Results of this study revealed that there were no significant differences between males and females in mean scores of acculturative stress and locus of control. Results of the correlation between acculturative stress and internal, powerful others and chance locus of control were not statistically significant. Contrary to the hypothesis regarding locus of control, eighty percent of the respondents recorded and Internal locus of control orientation. Results on the acculturative stress scale reported equally high mean scores for both males and females.

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