Acculturation and Adjustment of Elderly Émigrés from the Former Soviet Union: A Life Domains Perspective
Genkova, Ana G.
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Former Soviet émigrés in the United States are on average older than other immigrant groups, with adults over 65 comprising a large portion of the Russian-speaking population. Because of personal and structural barriers, these older adults tend to acquire a new culture with difficulty and remain highly oriented towards their heritage culture. However, limited research is available on how acculturation to both the culture of origin and the host culture contributes to adaptation among elderly immigrants. In this study I use pre-collected data to assess the adaptive value of host and heritage acculturation across several domains in the lives of older émigrés the former Soviet Union resettled in the Baltimore area. Acculturation 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 has different functions depending on life domain. Particularly, high American acculturation contributed to better adjustment in all examined domains. Heritage acculturation was associated with better outcomes in the social domain and had mixed effects for psychological adjustment. Theoretical implications highlight the importance of evaluating multiple life domains of adapting through a bilinear acculturation model for this understudied population.
Former Soviet Union