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

Blomstedt, Yulia; Hylander, Ingrid; Sundquist, Jan


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.

Yulia Blomstedt, MPH, is Doctoral Candidate; and Jan Sundquist, PhD, MD, is Professor and Chair, Center for Family and Community Medicine, MigraMed, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.

Ingrid Hylander, PhD, is Researcher, Center for Family and Community Medicine, MigraMed, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden and Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Linkoöping University, Linkoöping, Sweden.

Editor's Note

Materials documenting the review process for this article are posted at

Accepted for publication September 12, 2006.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01-H271084-1), the Swedish Research Council (K2004-21X-11651-09A), and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (2001-2373). These organizations played no role in the design and conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Corresponding author: Yulia Blomstedt, MPH, Center for Family and Community Medicine, MigraMed, Karolinska Institute, Alfred Nobels alleé 12 SE-141 83 Huddinge, Sweden (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.