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The psychological and sociocultural adaptation of chinese and vietnamese immigrant adolescents in Australia

DOI: 10.1016/s1874-5911(02)80024-0
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Publisher Summary This chapter examines the adaptation experience of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant adolescents in Australia, in comparison to a group of Anglo-Australian adolescents. Adolescents were chosen as the focus of this study because adolescence is a period of psychological and physical changes, and a period for search of personal identity. The results of the present findings are supportive of Searle and Ward's distinction of psychological and sociocultural adaptation distinction. Some respect for authority and sense of duty seem to be necessary for satisfactory functioning within social institutions but a sense of personal control is related to subjective well-being. Both, however, are related to overall life satisfaction. Among non-immigrant adolescents, endorsement of children's obligations towards parents and sense of personal control were predictive of measures of internal psychological adaptation, namely, life satisfaction, psychological symptoms and self-esteem. Sense of personal control was related to measures of adaptive functioning such as life satisfaction and self-esteem. However, these variables failed to predict external sociocultural adaptation such as school adjustment, academic achievement and behavior problems. Among immigrant adolescents, endorsement of children's obligations to parents, acculturation strategies and perceived discrimination were found to be related to psychopathology and well-being. Specifically, marginalization strategy was related to the external sociocultural measures of school adjustment, academic achievement and behavior problems, and marginalization was consistently related to poorer or less adaptive outcomes. Overall, among immigrant adolescents, a sense of alienation seems to be related to increased psychopathology, poorer psychological well-being and maladaptive functioning.

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