Prediction of adaptation difficulties by country of origin, cumulate psychosocial stressors and attitude toward integrating: A Swedish study of first-generation immigrants from Somalia, Vietnam and China

E. Johnsson, K. Zolkowska, Thomas Mcneil

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Different types of accumulated stress have been found to have negative consequences for immigrants capacity to adapt to the new environment. It remains unclear which factors have the greatest influence. Aims: The study investigated whether immigrants experience of great difficulty in adapting to a new country could best be explained by (1) country of origin, (2) exposure to accumulated stressors before arrival or (3) after arrival in the new country and/or (4) reserved attitude toward integrating into the new society. Methods: The 119 first-generation immigrants from Somalia, Vietnam and China, living in Malm, Sweden, were interviewed in a standardized manner. Results: Experiencing great difficulty in adapting to Sweden was independent of length of residence, but significantly related to all four influences, studied one at a time. Country of origin was also related to stressors and attitude. When the effects of the other influences were mutually controlled for, only exposure to accumulated stressors in Sweden (and especially experiencing discrimination/xenophobia/racism) accounted for great adaptation difficulty. Stressors in Sweden had a greater effect if the immigrant had been exposed to stressors earlier. Conclusions: Immigrants long-term experiences of great difficulty in adapting to a new country were explained primarily by exposure to accumulated stressors while moving to and living in the new country, rather than by their backgrounds or attitudes toward integrating. This suggests promoting strategies to avoid discrimination and other stressors in the host country.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-182
    JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
    Volume61
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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