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Portuguese Immigrant Families: The Impact of Acculturation

Authors


concerning this article should be addressed to Marie Morrison, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education, The University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, Canada. V6T 1Z4. E-mail: majeromo@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract

Portuguese immigrants to North America represent a large ethnic group with unique family therapy needs. The present study investigates acculturation and the family lives of Portuguese (Azorean) immigrants in Canada. Methods of analytic induction and constant comparison from grounded theory were used to examine transcripts of interviews with 21 Azorean immigrant women and 28 Azorean immigrant men. A model emerged wherein (a) immigration and acculturation act as stressors on the family unit, as described by the categories Process of Change and Family Relationships; (b) family members adopt generation- and gender-specific acculturative strategies, as illustrated by the categories Duas Culturas (Two Cultures) and Falando Portuges (Speaking Portuguese); and (c) as family members acculturate, discords arise and are resolved according to the cultural traits different members have adopted. The categories Discord Resolution and Preocupação (Preoccupations) illustrate this last dynamic. Implications for family therapy with immigrant families include an indication for community-level interventions, emphasis on confidentiality, awareness of acculturation stress and different acculturative strategies within the family, and aiding the family in the negotiation and integration of a new bicultural reality.

RESUMEN

Los inmigrantes portugueses en Norteamérica representan un gran grupo étnico con unas necesidades únicas de terapia familiar. El presente estudio investiga la aculturación y las vidas familiares de inmigrantes portugueses (de Azores) en Canadá. Se utilizaron métodos de inducción analítica y comparación constante de teorías fundamentadas para examinar transcripciones de entrevistas con inmigrantes azoreños, 21 mujeres y 28 hombres. De ahí surgió un modelo en el que (a) la inmigración y la aculturación actúan como factores estresantes en la unidad familiar, como se describe por las categorías de Process of Change, y Family Relationships; (b) los miembros de la familia adoptan estrategias aculturativas específicas de generación y género, como se ilustra por las categorías Duas Culturas (Dos Culturas), y Falando Portugues (Hablando Portugués); y (c) a medida que los miembros de la familia se aculturan, surgen y se resuelven discordias de acuerdo con las características culturales que los diferentes miembros han adoptado. Las categorías de Discord Solution y Preocupaçao (Preocupaciones) ilustran esta última dinámica. Las implicaciones para terapia familiar con inmigrantes incluyen una indicación de intervenciones a nivel de la comunidad, un énfasis en la confidencialidad, conciencia del estrés de la aculturación, y diferentes estrategias aculturativas dentro de la familia, así como ayuda a la familia en la negociación y la integración de una nueva realidad bicultural.
Palabras clave: familia, portugués, Azores, inmigrante, aculturación, terapia

Abstract

Portuguese immigrants to North America represent a large ethnic group with unique family therapy needs. The present study investigates acculturation and the family lives of Portuguese (Azorean) immigrants in Canada. Methods of analytic induction and constant comparison from grounded theory were used to examine transcripts of interviews with 21 Azorean immigrant women and 28 Azorean immigrant men. A model emerged wherein (a) immigration and acculturation act as stressors on the family unit, as described by the categories of Process of Change, and Family Relationships; (b) family members adopt generation and gender-specific acculturative strategies, as illustrated by the categories Duas Culturas (Two Cultures), and Falando Portuges (Speaking Portuguese); and (c) as family members acculturate, discords arise and are resolved according to the cultural traits different members have adopted. The categories of Discord Resolution and Preocupação (Preoccupations) illustrate this last dynamic. Implications for family therapy with immigrant families include an indication for community-level interventions, emphasis on confidentiality, awareness of acculturation stress and different acculturative strategies within the family, and aiding the family in the negotiation and integration of a new bi-cultural reality.
inline image family, Portuguese, Azores, immigrant, acculturation, therapy

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