process of cultural and psychological change

Acculturation is a term used to describe how an individual or a group from one culture interacts directly with an individual or group from a different culture.[1] Sometimes, these two cultures may be similar, or they may be very different. Unlike culture shock, acculturation includes the ways both cultures influence each other. Also, culture shock is only focused on the individual or group who is entering a new culture. With acculturation, both cultures are looked at. Many things can be exchanged between the two cultures like language, ways of living, or foods. Acculturation is focused on the process of two cultures interacting over a long period of time, not once or twice. Cultural diffusion is different from acculturation because diffusion may occur once or twice, and means that there is an equal balance between the two things involved; with acculturation, this equal balance is not guaranteed.


The term acculturation was first used by people who study anthropology. They wanted to know more about how people from different cultures interact with each other and what happens when they interact.[1][2] Psychologists have also been interested in studying acculturation but are interested in the effects of acculturation on individuals. Sociologists also study acculturation and how societies change from interacting with new cultures.

Models of acculturationEdit

Models of acculturation[3]

The process of acculturation can have four outcomes: assimilation, integration, separation, and marginalization.[4][5] These four outcomes are shown in the picture to the right.

  • Assimilation is when one culture loses its original identity and takes on the identity of the other culture (in the picture, all of the blue dots become red dots).
  • Integration is when one culture still has some of its original identity while also trying to be a part of the other culture (in the picture, there are still blue dots in the larger circle, but some blue dots are trying to “act” or “look like” red dots; some red dots may try to look like blue dots too).
  • Separation is when there is an interaction between the two cultures, but nothing is exchanged, the cultures do not change (in the picture, the red and blue dots are in the same circle, but none of them change color).
  • Marginalization is when no interaction occurs between the two cultures and one culture loses their own culture (in the picture, the blue dots are in their own circle and are not colored in, while the red dots remain unchanged).

Use of acculturation in social scienceEdit

Anthropologists, Psychologists, and Sociologists all use acculturation to help explain changes that happen when cultures interact. One way of measuring levels of acculturation is through acculturative stress.[6] This measurement helps relate acculturation to other ideas or issues and helps researchers understand what happens to individuals and groups during acculturation. Many studies have looked at acculturative stress and health of individuals.[7][8][9] Other acculturation research studies have focused on immigrantpopulations to the United States[10] and other minority groups.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Redfield, Robert; Linton, Ralph; Herskovits, Melville J. (1936). "Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation". American Anthropologist. 38 (1): 149–152. doi:10.1525/aa.1936.38.1.02a00330. ISSN 0002-7294. JSTOR 662563.
  2. Herskovits, Melville J. (1937). "The Significance of the Study of Acculturation for Anthropology". American Anthropologist. 39 (2): 259–264. doi:10.1525/aa.1937.39.2.02a00060. ISSN 0002-7294.
  3. "Acculturation". 2020-11-29. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  4. Berry, J. W. (1992). "Acculturation and Adaptation in a New Society". International Migration. 30: 69–85. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.1992.tb00776.x. ISSN 0020-7985.
  5. Sam, D. L.; Berry, J.W. (2010). "Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet". Perspectives on Psychological Science. 5 (4): 472–481. doi:10.1177/1745691610373075. PMID 26162193. S2CID 220262608.
  6. Berry, J. W.; Kim, Uichol; Minde, Thomas; Mok, Doris (1987). "Comparative Studies of Acculturative Stress". The International Migration Review. 21 (3): 491–511. doi:10.2307/2546607. ISSN 0197-9183. JSTOR 2546607.
  7. Crockett, Lisa J.; Iturbide, Maria I.; Torres Stone, Rosalie A.; McGinley, Meredith; Raffaelli, Marcela; Carlo, Gustavo (2007). "Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Coping: Relations to Psychological Adjustment Among Mexican American College Students". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 13 (4): 347–355. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.13.4.347. PMID 17967103. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  8. Hunt, Elizabeth N.; Martens, Matthew P.; Wang, Kenneth T.; Yan, Grace C. (2017-07-03). "Acculturative stress as a moderator for international student drinking behaviors and alcohol use consequences". Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 16 (3): 263–275. doi:10.1080/15332640.2016.1185656. ISSN 1533-2640. PMID 27294691. S2CID 19042258.
  9. Lane, Liam (2020). "Acculturative stress and aspects of well-being among Chinese international students in U.S. higher education". Undergraduate Honors Theses.
  10. Nasirudeen, A. M. A.; Josephine, K.W.N.; Adeline, L.L.C.; Seng, L.L.; Ling, H.A. (2019). Adeline, L. L. C., Seng, L. L., & Ling, H. A. "Acculturative stress among Asian international students in Singapore". Journal of International Students: 363–373.
  11. Roysircar-Sodowsky, G.; Maestas, M. V. (2000). "Acculturation, ethnic identity, and acculturative stress: Evidence and measurement". In Dana, R. H. (ed.). Handbook of cross-cultural and multicultural personality assessment. Mahwah, N.J, US: Routledge. pp. 131–172.