Ethnic Identity, Immigration, and Well-Being: An Interactional Perspective



On the basis of existing theory and research regarding ethnic identity and immigration and our own empirical work in four immigrant-receiving countries, we suggest an interactional model for understanding psychological outcomes for immigration. Specifically, the interrelationship of ethnic and national identity and their role in the psychological well-being of immigrants can best be understood as an interaction between the attitudes and characteristics of immigrants and the responses of the receiving society. This interaction is moderated by the particular circumstances of the immigrant group. The strengths of ethnic and national identity vary depending on the support for ethnic maintenance and the pressure for assimilation. Most studies show that the combination of a strong ethnic identity and a strong national identity promotes the best adaptation.