Acculturation and Psychological Functioning in Asian Indian Adolescents


  • The authors are grateful to the participating families and to psychology student research assistants Holly McNair and Michelle Camy. This research was partially supported by a U.S.C. Valentine Graduate Fellowship awarded to the second author, and an Excellence in Undergraduate Research Prize awarded to the third author. Correspondence should be addressed to the first author, Dr. J. M. Farver, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California SGM 501, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA, or via e-mail:


The objective of this exploratory study was to understand how Asian Indian immigrant families adjust to U.S. culture by examining factors that influence acculturation preferences or styles and how these styles may be associated with their children's psychological functioning, as measured by self-esteem and academic performance. 85 U.S.-born Asian Indian adolescents (45 girls; 40 boys) and one of their immigrant parents completed questionnaires about family demography, self-identification, acculturation, and religiosity. Adolescents also completed a self-perception profile. Results showed parents and adolescents had similar styles of acculturation. However, adolescents were more likely to self-identify as ‘Indian-American’ than were their parents. For both adolescents and their parents, integrated and assimilated acculturation styles were related to family SES, years of U.S. residence, and religiosity scores. Adolescents who had an integrated acculturation style had higher GPAs and higher scores on the self-perception profile than did adolescents who were separated or marginalized. The findings lend tentative support for an integrated style of acculturation in promoting positive outcomes for first generation Asian Indian adolescents.