THE PROBLEMS OF POLISH AND COLOMBIAN IMMIGRANTS EXPERIENCED DURING THE PROCESS OF THEIR PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIO-CULTURAL ADAPTATION TO THE HOST CULTURE IN USA
AbstractThe cultural aspects of the problems of immigrants in the new country have gained much attention of acculturation researchers in the recent decade. This study analyzes the psychological and social adaptation issues of immigrants to the United States. The study focused its analysis towards Polish and Colombian immigrants. The conceptual framework of the study was based on Berry’s acculturation strategies and Ward’s dimensions of acculturation. The study employed a qualitative research design. Primary data collection instrument of the study was semi-structured interviews. There were 136 research participants living in Diocese of Paterson, New Jeresy with sixty eight from Polish origin and sixty eight from Colombian origin. The sampling method used was snowball sampling. The purpose was to investigate their problems from psychological perspectives as well as socio-cultural perspectives. The researcher analyzed the issues in the light of four acculturation strategies of assimilation, separation, integration, and marginalization. The researcher also analyzed the issues using the variables of psychological adaptation and socio-cultural adaptation. For psychological adaptation, the variables used were coping styles, life changes, social support, and personality. For socio-cultural adaptation, the variables used were length of stay, language fluency, and interaction with local people. There were some significant patterns found in the study. Participants who immigrated by choice were inclined towards assimilation, while those immigrated forcefully were inclined towards separation. Language proficiency in English was found as the biggest barrier in the acculturation process. The social support was positive if the cause of immigration was to join the family in the new country. It was negative if the cause of the immigration was better prospects. Families treated the immigrants as ignorant to the family and people also labeled them as unpatriotic. Time also plays an important role and the problems of acculturation reduce when the length of stay increases. Mixed trends were found in interaction with local people. Polish participants described their interactions as positive, while Colombian participants had concerns about it. Social policy implications of the research include measures in mental health and education.
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