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An acculturation tale of culture shock, stress trajectories and cultural no...

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University of Suffolk: LT2 Water Front

19 Neptune Quay

Ipswich

IP4 1QJ

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Suffolk Psychology Society



An acculturation tale of culture shock, stress trajectories and cultural norms

Dr Nicolas Geeraert
University of Essex


Using longitudinal survey data from intercultural exchange students (N = 2480) travelling from and to 51 different countries, we explore different acculturation questions. When people relocate to a new country do they experience a typical pattern of adjustment? If so, do sojourners experience acculturative stress (a.k.a. culture shock) on arrival or do sojourners typically go through an initial 'honeymoon' phase? There is in fact little support in the literature for a 'one-size fits all' pattern for the so-called acculturation curve. While this problem has been studied for over half a century, the development of new research methods and statistical software in recent years means that this old question can be revisited and examined in a more rigorous manner. Latent Class Growth Analysis was used to examine the temporal pattern of stress experienced by sojourners. This analysis revealed five distinct patterns of change in stress: a J-curve, a U-curve, a mild stress, a minor relief and a resilience pattern. In addition, we examined the antecedents and consequences of acculturative stress through both variable-centred (i.e. Multi-Level Modelling) and person-centred analyses (i.e. individual stress trajectories). Next, we examined how social norms impact sojourners' adaptation. This question is examined using the framework of cultural tightness, i.e. the extent to which a culture is characterized by social norms and tolerance for deviant behaviours. We hypothesized that both the country of origin and destination impact on adaptation. Sojourners travelling to a tighter culture are expected to be less adapted than those that go to loose cultures. In contrast, individuals who have been socialized in tighter cultures are expected to be more adapted than those in loose cultures, due to an awareness of the strength and importance of social norms. Further, the effect of cultural tightness is expected to be moderated by personality.


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University of Suffolk: LT2 Water Front

19 Neptune Quay

Ipswich

IP4 1QJ

United Kingdom

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