Thursday, October 3, 2013

Acculturation experiences and personality characteristics of Greek Americans

Neophytos (Neo) Papaneophytou, Fielding's School of Psychology

This study investigated how the dimensions of heritage culture and mainstream culture identification, and four dimensions of acculturation, namely integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization, are associated with the mental health and personality characteristics of first-generation Greek-Americans (including Greek-speaking Cypriots). In order to measure personality and psychopathology the MMPI-2-RF RC scales were utilized. This study was significant in its conceptualization of acculturation. The use of the RC scales has rarely been found, and it is the first time it is being employed with regard to a Greek-American community sample of first generation immigrants. Results indicated that lower mainstream-culture identification was associated with higher scores on Demoralization (RCd), Somatic Complaints (RC1), Cynicism (RC3), Ideas of Persecution (RC6), and Aberrant Behaviors (RC8); and lower heritage-culture identification was associated with higher scores on Somatic Complaints (RC1) to the direction of psychopathology. Individuals testing in the Separated category, that is, who continued to identify more with their heritage culture and less with their new (mainstream) culture experienced more somatic problems. The performance of the sample was in line with prior research, and the findings of this study are consistent with previous studies that found different levels of acculturation to have differential impact on the MMPI-2-RF performance, and studies that found higher identification with both mainstream culture and heritage culture were associated with more favorable mental health outcomes. Findings supported the premise that both mainstream and heritage cultures offer benefits for people living in and/or experiencing multiple cultures. In addition, the findings of this study indicated support for the bidimentional model of acculturation as most participants had a high identification with both mainstream and heritage cultures.

Key Words: MMPI-2-RF, MMPI-2, RC scales, acculturation, acculturation strategies, bidimensional model of acculturation, unidimensional model of acculturation, Greek-Americans, immigration, mental health.

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