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Vol. 23. Num. 2. 2014. Pages 83-93

Acculturation and adjustment of elderly émigrés from the former Soviet Union: Alife domains perspective

[Aculturación y adaptación de personas mayores exiliadas de la antigua Unión Soviética: Una perspectiva desde las facetas de la vida]

Ana G. Genkova1 , Edison J. Trickett1 , Dina Birman1 , Andrey Vinokurov2

1Univ. Illinois at Chicago, Estados Unidos ,2Optimal Solutions Group, Estados Unidos

Abstract

Former Soviet émigrés in the United States are on average older than other immigrant groups, with adultsover 65 comprising a large portion of the Russian-speaking population. Despite known risks associated withold-age migration, however, researchers and providers have underestimated adjustment difficulties forRussian-speaking elderly in U.S. These older adults tend to acquire a new culture with difficulty and remainhighly oriented towards their heritage culture. However, limited research examines how acculturation to boththe culture of origin and the host culture contributes to wellbeing for this immigrant group. This studyassesses the adaptive value of host and heritage acculturation across several domains in the lives of olderémigrés from the former Soviet Union resettled in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas in the UnitedStates. Acculturation level with respect to both host and heritage culture was measured with the Language,Identity, and Behavior Scale (LIB; Birman & Trickett, 2001) and used to predict psychological, family, social,and medical care adjustment outcomes. Results suggest that acculturation to the host or heritage culture hasdifferent functions depending on life domain. Particularly, high American acculturation contributed to betteradjustment in the psychological, family, and social domains. Heritage acculturation was associated withbetter outcomes in the social domain and had mixed effects for psychological adjustment. Theoreticalimplications highlight the importance of evaluating multiple life domains of adapting through a bilinearacculturation model for the understudied population of elderly immigrants. 

Resumen

Las personas ex-soviéticas que se exiliaron a los EE.UU. tienen una media de edad superior a la de otros gruposde inmigrantes; entre ellas, los adultos que superan los 65 años suponen un gran porcentaje de la poblaciónruso parlante. A pesar de que se conocen los riesgos asociados con la inmigración de personas mayores,los investigadores y agentes que prestan servicios han subestimado las dificultades de adaptación de las personasmayores ruso parlantes en los EE.UU. A estas personas les cuesta adquirir una nueva cultura y siguenmuy orientados hacia su cultura de origen. No obstante, no abunda la investigación que analice de qué maneracontribuye al bienestar de este grupo de inmigrantes la aculturación tanto en la cultura de origen como enla cultura de acogida. Este estudio analiza el valor adaptativo de la aculturación de origen y de acogida en diversasfacetas de la vida de las personas de más edad que se exiliaron de la antigua Unión Soviética y se establecieronen EE.UU. en zonas de Baltimore y Washington DC. El nivel de aculturación tanto en la cultura deacogida como en la de origen se ha medido con la Escala de Idioma, Identidad y Comportamiento (LIB; Birman& Trickett, 2001), que se utilizó para predecir el grado de ajuste psicológico, familiar, social y sanitario.Los resultados indican que la asimilación de la cultura de acogida o de origen tiene funciones diferentes dependiendode la faceta de la vida. En concreto una elevada aculturación estadounidense contribuía a una mejoradaptación en las facetas psicológica, familiar y social. La aculturación de origen se asociaba a mejores resultadosen la faceta social aunque eran contradictorios en el ajuste psicológico. Las implicaciones teóricasdestacan la importancia de evaluar las distintas facetas de la vida en la adaptación a un modelo de aculturaciónbilineal en el caso de la población de inmigrantes mayores, escasamente estudiada. 

Keywords

Immis
Elderly
Refugees
Acculturation
Life domains
Émigrés

Palabras clave

Inmies
Personas mayores
Refugiados
Aculturación
Facetas de la vida
Exiliados
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