Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Towson, Shelagh

Keywords

acculturation; Black Canadians; multiculturalism; racial identity; social identity; tridimensional acculturation

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study examined what successful acculturation looks like for Black Canadian immigrants using a tridimensional model of acculturation (Ferguson, Bornstein, & Pottinger, 2012), as well as how Black Canadian immigrants conceptualize their racial identity. Participants were 120 first and second generation Black Canadians with African and/or Caribbean heritage (Mage = 21.27, SD = 3.50, Range = 16-30). Although the tridimensional model did not predict subjective well-being (SWB) above and beyond the traditional bidimensional model of acculturation, participants who were oriented toward their heritage culture and mainstream Black culture had the highest SWB. Conversely, participants who were oriented solely toward mainstream Black culture had the lowest SWB. Additionally, perceiving cultural incompatibility with White culture predicted lower life satisfaction and positive affect, and greater negative affect. The only statistically significant difference between African heritage and Caribbean heritage Canadians among the study variables was that African heritage participants reported being more oriented toward mainstream Black culture than did Caribbean heritage participants. Participants shared what being Black in Canada means to them in open-ended questions. Although there was no consensus among participants on how to define mainstream Black culture, their responses indicated that mainstream Black culture is an important destination culture for Black Canadian immigrants, and its role in the acculturation of Black Canadian immigrants needs to be further explored.

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