Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Amy Kerivan Marks
  • Bridgid M. Conn
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_12

The term “acculturation” is used to define a set of changes, both at the psychological and social level, which immigrants usually experience in order to facilitate their own settlement to host societies. At the individual level, the term acculturation denotes a complex series of psychological and interpersonal changes that occur when an immigrant experiences a first-hand encounter with a new culture. These encounters may precipitate psychological adaptations (e.g., changes in behaviors and beliefs, identities, values and attitudes) that are made in order to thrive in the new cultural environment.

Contextual immigration factors may facilitate a healthy and smooth adaptation process at times, while the individual may experience great stress and difficulty in acculturating at other times. As a result, immigrants also appear to have varying levels of health and wellness disparities, which are influenced by the stress involved with the acculturation experience. For new immigrants, access to...

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Suggested Readings

  1. Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 62–68.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Kerivan Marks
    • 1
  • Bridgid M. Conn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySuffolk UniversityBostonUSA