The adjustment-adaptation of Asian immigrants during intercultural transition in Brisbane

Wong, Christopher Kway-Man (2002). The adjustment-adaptation of Asian immigrants during intercultural transition in Brisbane PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

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Author Wong, Christopher Kway-Man
Thesis Title The adjustment-adaptation of Asian immigrants during intercultural transition in Brisbane
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2002
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Robyn Gillies
Bruce Rigsby
Total pages 250
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
370103 Race and Ethnic Relations
370302 Social and Cultural Anthropology
750306 Ethnicity and multiculturalism
Formatted abstract
The phenomenon of Asian immigration in Australia goes as far back as the late 18 century. At first, there was no legislative control against Asian emigrants but large numbers of Chinese gold miners created restrictions in the mid-19**^ century. However, the situation improved during the late 20* century. Since then, Australia has evolved into a culturally diverse nation with Asian immigrants comprising about 5% of the population. Brisbane, a cosmopolitan city in Australia, continues to face sociocultural changes with the recent influx of Asian immigrants. Whilst rhetorical debate about the merits and demerits of immigration continues at the public domain from time to time, Asian immigrants are quietly adjusting to their newly adopted home. The paucity of domain-specific research on the experiences of Asian immigrants calls for more studies as to how this particular group is coping in the acculturation process.

In order to assess the adaptation-adjustment experiences of Asian immigrants, a questionnaire was constructed around earlier investigations such as, inter alia, the acculturation attitudes by Berry and colleagues, and the psychological and sociocultural adjustments of sojourners by Ward and colleagues. This study attempted to bring together elements of cognitive (CA), affective (AA), and educative (EA) perspectives of acculturation and their influence on "intentional transactional strategy" (ITS) and "consequent cultural constitution" (CCC). A total of 222 respondents completed the questionnaire that examined their demographic background, and cognitive-affective-educative perspective. Employing SPSS 10.0.5, preliminary data screening was undertaken to establish the consistency of the observed variables. Due to the large number of variables, the construct validity of the scales was tested by using maximum likelihood factor analysis of congeneric models of each scale factor structure when necessary. Firstly, the latent variable CA was measured by 9 indicators: "perceived intercultural interactions" "perceived ethnic group status and participation" "parental perceptions" "general perceptions of social equity, cultural diversity and multiculturalism" "stereotyping", "perceptions of quality of living" "perceived intergroup relations" and "perceptions of socio-political issues" Secondly, AA was measured by 3 indicators: "intergroup feeling" "level of contact" and "mood states" Finally, EA was measured by 7 indicators: "socio-political understanding" "problem-solving skills" "socio-environment settlement skills" "interpersonal communication skills" "intercultural relations" "post-migration participation" and "worldview" All scales demonstrated adequate fit suggesting that the measures had adequate construct validity.

Following this, the hypothesised model was examined by structural equation modeling (SEM), using EQS 5.7a, to test the relationships between the latent variables. The analysis of the final model indicated that it approached an acceptable level of fit. Generally, the results showed that cognitive, affective, and educative acculturation domains influence ITS (Y24 = .77, p < .05) which, in turn, influences CCC (|345 = 94, p < .05). This overall pattern of results was broadly consistent with the hypothesised model but several intriguing issues emerged. Firstly, the results suggested that a non-linear multidimensional framework might better depict the acculturation process. Significant correlations were found between CA and AA (<|)i2 = .83, p < .05), between AA and EA {^z = .82, /? < .05), and between CA and EA ((j)i3 = .61, p < .05). These high correlations between the acculturation domains highlighted the difficulty in disentangling their collective influence or mapping their individual contribution to ITS outcome. Secondly, most significantly, the results indicated that Asian migrants might simultaneously hold different, even contradictory, strategies at a given point in time. Furthermore, SEM suggested that Asian migrants were more likely to adopt the "separationist" strategy in their adjustment-adaptation approach (A,24 = .52, /? < .05). Paradoxically, the majority of Asian migrants were classified as positively adjusted. The conducive environment for positive acculturation may be due to Australia adopting an explicit "multicultural" policy that recognises cultural diversity.

The overall investigation may somewhat be limited for difficulties associated with ITS and CCC as single indicator scales, inadequate sampling of migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, self-selection, and its cross-sectional design. Therefore, generalisations from the data can only be made with caution. Notwithstanding, this broadly focused study might provide a small step in a more fruitful pathway for more research to provide further empirical information enabling legislators and others to address the impact of future settlement policies. Therefore, cumulative empirical data of Asian migrant acculturation experience, singularly and collectively, could provide the means for greater understand and preemptive measures of alleviating maladjustment outcomes and minimising intervention costs.
Keyword Asia -- Emigration and immigration
Australia -- Emigration and immigration

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 17:56:34 EST