Acculturative distress in Greek immigrant adolescents
Adonis, Marios N.
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The current study examines emotional distress directly linked to acculturation, the change that occurs in a culture or person when two autonomous cultural groups come into contact, usually due to immigration. It is hypothesized that this emotional distress that arises from acculturation is responsible for much of the negative effects of acculturation on the physical and emotional well-being of acculturating individuals, termed acculturative distress. The current study investigates the effects of acculturative distress on ambulatory blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.;Eighty Greek immigrant adolescents ranging in age from 14 to 18 years (mean=15.4 years; 60% female, 17.5% 1st generation, 60% 2 nd generation, and 12.5% 3rd generation immigrants) were recruited from a Greek American high school in Astoria, NY. Participants were asked to complete a series of questionnaires, which assessed acculturation, acculturative distress, depression, anxiety, socioeconomic status, and social support. On a separate day, ambulatory blood pressure was assessed during the school day.;Boys were found to have significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) at baseline and during the ambulatory phase, higher body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio; the girls' scores were higher for depression, anxiety, tangible support, and appraisal support. Acculturative distress was predictive of depression and anxiety levels, and it was found to be mediated by tangible support. First generation immigrant adolescents had higher systolic BP for the duration of the study than 2nd generation immigrant adolescents, and 1st and 2nd generation immigrant adolescents had higher heart rate under distress than 3rd generation immigrant adolescents. Personal acculturative distress was predictive of ambulatory heart rate under distress before controlling for age, sex, waist-hip ratio, BMI, and activity.;In the current study, acculturative distress did not have an effect on ambulatory BP of Greek immigrant adolescents. It has been shown, however, that acculturative distress has a strong impact on the psychological well-being of the participants through increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. These findings were found to be mediated by the perceived tangible support. Boys were also found to have higher systolic and diastolic BP than girls, while girls reported higher levels of psychological distress than boys.
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