Acculturation, Acculturative Stressors, and Family Relationships Among Latina/o Immigrants

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Objectives: Family relationships, widely recognized as core to Latino cultures, are known to vary for Latina/o immigrants based on time in the United States. Less is known about (a) how acculturation explains differences in family relationships by time in the US, and (b) whether acculturative stressors influence different aspects of immigrants’ family relationships. Drawing on an expanded acculturation framework, we explore whether and how attitudinal familism, family contact, and family conflict among immigrant Latina/os vary based on acculturation and acculturative stressors. Method: Using nationally representative data on foreign-born Latina/os (National Latino and Asian American Study; N = 1,618), ordered logistic and OLS regression analyses examined whether differences in family relationships by time in the US are explained by acculturation factors, and whether acculturative stressors are associated with family relationships when controlling for other important sociodemographic factors. Results: Accounting for acculturation reduces the effect of time in the US on attitudinal familism and family conflict to nonsignificance. Spanish language proficiency and ethnic identity are associated with higher attitudinal familism, while English proficiency is associated with increased family conflict. Additionally, acculturative stressors (involuntary context of exit, hostile context of reception, limited origin country ties) are associated with lower attitudinal familism and higher conflict. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of (a) examining the ways that migration influences multiple aspects of family relationships, (b) adopting a more comprehensive acculturation framework. Particularly novel are our findings on how acculturative stressors are associated with different family outcomes.

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