• Maria Cecilia Zea
Reference work entry

Acculturation has been defined as the process of cultural change that immigrants undergo when they enter in contact with a new, host culture. Immigrants bring their own cultural identity, language, values, beliefs, and behaviors, which might differ from those of the host culture. Although it is less common to acknowledge that the host culture can also change through contact with immigrants, acculturation is a dynamic, reciprocal process that generates change in both groups, because culture is a dynamic and evolving configuration of cognitions, identities, behaviors, values, and norms.

There are two types of acculturation: group level and individual. Group-level change involves change at the societal level, such as a change in economic or political regime to which the entire population must adapt. For instance, due to colonization, revolution, or modernization, great economic and political changes take place that impact the society at large. Simultaneously, changes can occur at the...


Native Language Host Country Ethnic Identity Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Acculturative Stress 
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Suggested Reading

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    Balls Organista, P., Organista, K. C., & Kurasaki, K. (2003). The relationship between acculturation and ethnic minority mental health. In K. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marín (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 139–161). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

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  • Maria Cecilia Zea

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