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Self-Reported Integration as a Proxy for Acculturation: A Qualitative Study

Blomstedt, Yulia; Hylander, Ingrid; Sundquist, Jan

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Abstract

Background: It is essential to account for acculturation in any research conducted in multicultural populations. Both unidimensional and bidimensional approaches are used to measure the extent of acculturation; however, neither one of them is optimal.

Objective: To explore the immigrants' rating of the extent of their acculturation (self-reported integration) in contrast to an external (researchers') measurement.

Methods: Fifteen in-depth interviews with strategically sampled Russian-speaking men and women aged 25-70 years, with varying marital and employment status and living permanently in Stockholm, Sweden, were analyzed using a content analysis technique. The results were validated by means of a series of additional mini-interviews by telephone.

Results: The immigrants' self-reported integration corresponded with the researchers' bidimensional measurement of the extent of acculturation of these immigrants. Self-reported integration accounted for the mastering of the formal criteria of integration, resolving of grief concerning the homeland, and fulfilling the internal criteria of integration.

Discussion: Self-reported integration may be used as a proxy for acculturation but its application should be tested primarily in other settings and in a quantitative analysis.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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