Successful Acculturation of Hispanic-Americans to 'Discussion and Results' chapter

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Subject: Family and Marriage
  • Type: 'Discussion and Results' chapter
  • Paper: #27274623

Excerpt from 'Discussion and Results' chapter :

In both cases, contributing variables such as country of origin, the existence or non-existence of family ties, gender and an immigrant's experience of the immigration process are omitted from the equation. This sector aimed to satisfy this gap by testing the combined effects of acculturation, kin, civic ties, and institutional context on immigrant's distrust of U.S. government, by testing for both acculturation factors (i.e. second-hand experience) and institutional factors (i.e. immediate experience of immigrant).

Three hypothesize were stated. Firstly, that the quantity of kin ties in the USD will influence trust towards the government; the greater the quantity of relations living in the U.S., the more trust experienced. Secondly, that high numbers of civic ties will increase trust in the government, and that the reverse will be true if the majority of one's civic ties reside in Mexico. Thirdly, that negative immediate experience (i.e. institution context) will impel low levels of trust whilst positive institutional contexts impel high levels of trust towards the U.S. government. Support was indicated for the first and third hypotheses, whilst only partial support was discovered for the second hypotheses. Whilst results showed that high levels of civic ties do increase trust, results were not contingent on civic ties in Mexico. English language use may be a proxy for civic ties and naturalization status may serve as proxy for institutional contexts in the United States.

Contributions of Study

Contributions of this study consist of various factors. In terms of the language acquisition factor, whilst original studies and the push/pull theory itself only considered the impact of children on parents in general, this study differentiated between fathers and mothers and showed that children's acculturation impact on mothers had a more significant effect than it had on fathers. Women were also more positively affected by having an American spouse. The fact that families play a powerful role in women's lives has been supported by other aspects of sociological research, and suggests, in this manner, a possible strategy in encouraging and facilitating language acquisition.

Similarly, the contribution to existent social research of distance of family ties and their impact on depression lies in this study's discovery that family ties are not always net-neutral in their effect on a person's mental health. In other words, the level of the relationship may have a differential impact on state of immigrant's well being as well as the factor of the relation's physical closeness to the immigrant. Earlier studies on the subject -- although acknowledging the importance of family ties on the immigrant's mental welfare -- overlooked these variables. In some contexts, as this study demonstrates, distance and gender of the relations involved may actually determine the existence of and intensity of depression. This is, particularly, so in the case of the female immigrant who may carry a dual role burden of caring and feel this imposition more acutely than her spouse (or than a male) may.

Finally, contributions of this study's experiment on variables of civic and kindred connection and their association to levels of government trust included practical benefits to social scientists interested in augmenting the trust of immigrants towards their new country. These include indications of the importance of studying immigrants as individuals who possess a spectrum of connections and are on a transition with relationship spanning Mexico and the U.S. It is these relationships and connections -- both in their former and present country - that contribute to changing levels of political trust on the part of the immigrant. In a practical manner, creating more opportunities for Mexican immigrants to become more civically involved in American affairs whilst retaining their connections with Mexican organizations and projects will enhance their political trust.

Limitations of Study

Limitations of all three studies include the fact the studied sample represents legal immigrants only and, therefore, omit the larger number of undocumented Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. that may have skewed the data in an alternate direction due to confounding factors such as their ignoring some questions, answering some inquiries in an alternate manner; different comprehensions of questions; and, simply, a different pattern of family network and responsibility in their lives.

In the case of language, several biases come into play when we measure correlation between language skills and situation. One of these is the omitted variable bias where, since so many other conditions are involved (such as the individual's particular abilities and personality), it is hard to tease out the different defects. Another, reverse causality, is the fact that observation indicating that it is literate immigrants who possess the better-paying jobs may in fact be contributory to the fact that it is the jobs that enabled the immigrants to acquire the language. Thirdly, measurement error proclaims that it is difficult to measure English language skills and lack of such ability would bias estimated effect.

The statistical methods used are limited, too, in that they omit qualitative and additional data that would have a necessary impact on findings. They do not include, for instance, information about whether kin living outside the U.S. are dependent on immigrants for financial support or whether they can support themselves, nor do they mention whether immigrant feels constrained to retain connection with kin external to U.S.. The ties could be inactive, whereas the ties within the U.S. may, in reality, prove far more of an imposition that relations, living in a foreign country. Variables such as these are not addressed by the tie measures and, therefore, only approximate, rather than definite, conclusions can be reached.

Finally, correlation of kindred configuration on depression may be a factor of reverse causality, where it is person's mental health, for instance, that compels him to retain contact with distant kin. The same is true with language where it may be the impact of the spouse on language acquisition that might encourage acculturation instead of the reverse being the case as is thought. Similarly, too, the same aspect holds with the possibility that it may be political ties that may be responsible for creating accelerated acculturation rather than the reverse being the case. Longitudinal data is needed to verify these assumptions.

In short, more work remains to be done in these areas, but this paper serves as catapult to raising some concerns and revealing prominent gaps that have been overlooked by previous research on the topic.

Each component of the acculturation process of Hispanic-Americans - language acquisition, the potential for the development of depression, and the factors contributing to the development of political trust -- inform the other. This dissertation aimed to present a comprehensive study of acculturation in the institution context of Mexico and the U.S. accounting for cross-disciplinary factors that includes distance, gender, age, family, and civic ties as influencing the three components of acculturation.

It is only when a comprehensive thorough investigation of the study and all its variables is conducted that solutions to successful immigration of Hispanic individuals to the United States can finally be achieved.

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