Masters Thesis

The Association between Acculturative Stress and Affect in Arab Americans

As acculturation can be a positive and negative experience, the negative aspects of the acculturation experience have come to be thought of as “acculturative stress” (Berry, 2005). Research has consistently found that greater acculturative stress is linked to more negative health outcomes. Although little research has been conducted regarding prevalent mental health conditions in Arab Americans, the most common mental illness was depression (Gilbert, McEwan, Mitra et al., 2008). However, few studies have examined how an underlying component of depression, affect, is influenced by acculturative stress. This study explored the relationship between acculturative stress and affect. It was hypothesized that greater acculturative stress will be associated with greater negative affect in a sample of Arab American adults. Second, it was hypothesized that higher acculturative stress will be associated with decreased positive affect. Third, it was hypothesized that higher ethnic identity would buffer the relationship between acculturative stress and affect, resulting in lower levels of negative affect. Fourth, it was hypothesized that higher ethnic identity would buffer the relationship between acculturative stress and affect, resulting in higher levels of positive affect. A total of 138 Arab American participants were recruited from a college campus of a midwestern university. The results demonstrated that acculturative stress was not positively associated with negative or positive affect. Moreover, affect and acculturative stress with ethnic identity as a moderator showed no significant relationship.

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