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Keywords:

  • Acculturation;
  • Asian American;
  • concept analysis

TOPIC.  Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (A&PIAs) are experiencing health inequities. For example, A&PIA is the only racial/ethnic group in America to experience cancer as their leading cause of death. Several studies within the A&PIA population have pointed to acculturation as a significant variable to explain their health and health-seeking behaviors. Acculturation is a key construct in understanding the health of the A&PIA population.

OBJECTIVE.  The purpose of this concept analysis is to provide a current conceptual understanding of the relationship between acculturation and health, especially within the A&PIA populations, which will serve as a pragmatic guideline for nursing practice and research. Understanding the contemporary issues surrounding the conceptual application of acculturation will aid in the development of appropriate programs to reduce health inequities.

METHODS.  Acculturation was explored using the Morse method of concept analysis. An iterative historical and contemporary literature review across the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, psychology, medicine, and nursing was completed. Analytical questions asked of the resultant data provided the theoretical definition, antecedents, key attributes, outcomes, and implications.

RESULTS.  The concept analysis resulted in a new theoretical definition that includes multidimensional concepts of acculturation. Dilemmas in the measurement of key attributes of acculturation include unidirectional and bidirectional analysis, psychometric issues, and the appropriateness of proxy measurements. Outcomes of acculturation on health can be positive or negative and depend on an individual's or group's ability to navigate freely with necessary supports. Results of the conceptual analysis resulted in recommendations for nursing practice and future acculturation research.

CONCLUSION.  While debate continues about the appropriate use and definition of acculturation, researchers agree that it is an important construct in understanding the health of migrating individuals and groups. Currently there is no testable framework that delineates the role of acculturation in health. Further research is indicated to clarify the relationship between acculturation and health.