SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This article addresses the role of religion in immigrant adaptation through the case of Vietnamese adolescents. Our results show that religious participation consistently makes a significant contribution to ethnic identification, which, in turn, facilitates positive adaptation of immigrant adolescents to American society by increasing the probability that adolescents will do well in school, set their sights on future education, and avoid some of the dangers that confront contemporary young people. These results suggest that an immigrant congregation does not function simply as a means of maintaining a psychologically comforting sense of ethnicity while group members drop ethnic traits in their day-to-day lives. Nor does identification with an ethnic group appear to limit life chances by binding group members to ethnic traits. On the contrary, the ethnic religious participation examined here, to a large extent, facilitates adjustment to the host society precisely because it promotes the cultivation of a distinctive ethnicity, that, in turn, helps young people to reach higher levels of academic achievement and to avoid dangerous and destructive forms of behavior.