Psychological Impact of Biculturalism: Literature Review of Theoretical Models

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A developing argument that individuals who live at the junction between two cultures and can lay claim to belonging to both cultures, either by being mixed race or born in one culture and raised by another, should be considered marginal people (Stonequist, 1935). However, Green (1947) stated that people who live within two cultures do not inevitably suffer. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature and theory based on the psychological impacts of being bicultural. Specifically we will look at models of second-culture acquisition including Assimilation Model, Acculturation Model, and Alternation Model. Unfortunately, little empirical research exists in this area, and the research found little empirical support. The goal can then be said to understand what is known, and to push for further empirical research since Canada is inevitably multicultural.
Assimilation model tries to explain the psychological state of a person living within two cultures that are perceived as dominant or more desirable. According to Gordon (1978), a number of sub-processes constituting various stages of the assimilation process: (a) cultural and behavioural assimilation, (b) structural assimilation, (c) marital assimilation, (d) identification assimilation, (e) attitudinal receptional assimilation, (f) behavioural receptional assimilation and (g) civic assimilation. Ruiz (1981) said that the goal of assimilation process is to ultimately be accepted by the cultures a person moves through these stages. This model leads to the hypothesis that an individual will suffer a sense of alienation and isolation until he or she has

been ultimately accepted by the culture (Sung, 1985). This person will experience more stress, be more anxious, and will su...

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...ates evidence for this in the Old Amish, the Hasidim, and some American Indians. Instead it is more likely that the groups will co-exist and intermingle to create a new culture (Mallea, 1988).
Each of these models has its assumptions concerning what happens to a person as he or she undergoes the process of second-culture acquisition. This does not mean that these models are mutually exclusive. Depending on the situation and the person, any one of these models may represent adequate representations. What separates these models are the aspect that they emphasis in their description of a second-culture acquisition. What seems clear through the research is that the more individuals are able to maintain active and effective relationships through alternation between cultures, the less difficult he or she will have in acquiring and maintaining competency in both cultures.

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