A longitudinal study of acculturative stress and homesickness: High-school adolescents immigrating from Russia and Ukraine to Israel without parents

Eugene Tartakovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Acculturative stress and homesickness are psychological reactions to cross-cultural transition. They may cause a decline in social functioning, increased psychological distress, and, in severe cases, psychiatric disorders among immigrants. Aim: This study examined changes in acculturative stress and homesickness over the first 3 years in the host country. It also investigated the role of pre-migration psychological resources, perceived discrimination, and perceived social support as predictors of acculturative stress and homesickness. Method: 211 high-school adolescents who immigrated from Russia and Ukraine to Israel without parents participated in the study. They filled out self-report questionnaires at four times: about half a year before emigration and during the three consecutive years after immigration. Results: Acculturative stress strengthened in the second year compared to the first year and decreased in the third year after immigration. Homesickness decreased from the first to the third year after immigration. Pre-migration psychological resources were negatively correlated with acculturative stress and homesickness. Perceived discrimination was positively correlated with acculturative stress and homesickness. Perceived social support from friends and teachers negatively correlated with acculturative stress and homesickness, while perceived social support from the adolescents' parents was not correlated with these variables. Conclusion: Personal psychological resources and social support buffer acculturative stress and homesickness in immigrants, while discrimination aggravates their distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-494
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume42
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Acculturative stress
  • Adolescent immigrants
  • Discrimination
  • Homesickness
  • Social support

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