Pacific Islanders in New Zealand Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Cross-Cultural Case Study

Definition and an example of cultural and cross-cultural psychology

Relationship between cultural and cross-cultural psychology

The methodology associated with cross-cultural research

The case study helps better understand how ethnicity, race, and worldviews are separate yet related concepts and role of enculturation.

"Pacific Islands Families Study: The Association of Infant Health Risk Indicators and Acculturation of Pacific Island Mothers Living in New Zealand" examines the associations between maternal acculturation which was measured by an abbreviated version of the General Ethnicity Questionnaire and selected infant and maternal health risk indicators. The study was conducted on 1,398 Pacific infants born in Auckland, New Zealand (Borrows, Williams, Schluter, Paterson & Langitoto Helu, 2010).

The study finds out that the families who had a strong alignment to Pacific culture were found to have a higher degree of better infant and mortality risk factor outcomes than the families which did not possess a similar degree of cultural alignment. The study also found out that the separators had the best infant and maternal outcomes. The families that were integrators had a lesser infant and maternal outcomes where as the assimilators and marginalisors were found to possess the least favorable infant and maternal outcomes (Wan, 2015).

The study also concluded that the families that had the strongest links to the cultures of the Pacific islands and have managed to retain the links are the ones with who are most likely to have positive health benefits.

The context of the study lies in the fact that many social and health statistics over represent the people of Pacific ethnicities resident in New Zealand and there is consensus that these people generally fare worse than the general population of New Zealand in relation to parameters of health, unemployment, crime, income, housing,, education, and nutrition. Seeral studies have also revealed that despite the growth and employment opportunities in New Zealand in the recent years, the people of Pacific origin are more likely to be living in poor circumstances and have been found to have limited access to facilities of higher education, home ownership, and to other amenities such as automobiles and telephones. Social theories have also linked negative health outcomes with socioeconomic disadvantage and this has prompted the study. The study has tried to link and establish the link between the maternity and infant health and the socio economic condition of the people of Pacific origin residing in New Zealand (Borrows, Williams, Schluter, Paterson & Langitoto Helu, 2010).

The study also assumes importance as the researchers feel that the raison d'etre for the Pacific Island Families (PIF) Study is an issue that attracts major concern among New Zealanders with respect to the health of Pacific families and specifically their infants. A few statistics would emphasize the issue. The total neonatal death rate for Pacific infants at 4.7 per 1,000 live births, which is more than double that of New Zealanders of European origin. The high rates of hospitalization, particularly for respiratory illnesses is particularly high among Pacific infants as well as these infants have a greater severity of the diseases compared to infants belonging to families of European origin (C. C., 1996).

Definition and an example of cultural and cross-cultural psychology

The scientific of human behavior and the mental processes of an individual or a community that includes both variability and invariance which happens under at least two different cultural conditions is termed as cross cultural psychology. Cross cultural psychology attempts to extend and develop psychology through the application of expanding research methodologies to recognize cultural variance in behavior, language, and meaning.

Therefore it can be said that cross cultural psychology is the branch of psychology that believes that human behavior is significantly influenced by cultural differences. This also entails the belief that comparison of psychological phenomena can only be done in a very limited extent with each over cultures. Cross cultural psychology searches for possible similarities and universality in behavior and mental process when two or more cultures meet (Betts & Bottomley, 1993).

According to the case study, the people of Pacific origin had migrated to New Zealand between 1950 and the 1980s form the many smaller islands surrounding the main Island of te country. They were born and brought up in a culture that was essentially different to that of the European culture prevalent among the greater population of the country. They had to adjust to the new culture and accommodate their style of living so as to co-exist in a manner that was favorable. Therefore in the case study the people of Pacific origin who had migrated into New Zealand mainland had undergone a psychological change -- often stress, while adjusting to the culture of the general population of the country (Connell, 2008). This for them was cross cultural psychology that they had developed during the transition.

On the other hand, the ways of life, the beliefs and traditions that these people were brought up in and were accustomed to is known as the culture. The usual way of life of the people of Pacific origin as they knew it before they migrated can be defined as the culture of the Pacific islanders.

According to many researchers, the static aspects of culture are generally dealt with by cross-cultural psychology while culture refers to the dynamics within a way of life. A number of variables are used to compare the two or more cultures in cross-cultural psychology with the aim of finding out similarities and differences in psychological functioning. On the other hand culture is defined as the way of life for a particular society or a community.

Relationship between cultural and cross-cultural psychology

In terms of studies and the field of psychology, there is very little similarity between cultural psychology and cross cultural psychology. While cross cultural psychology is generally associated with matters and issues in a cultural convergence that are static in nature, the dynamics of a culture is the primary area of concern for cultural and indigenous psychology. The approach to the study of the two issues also differs. While cross cultural psychology is based on the comparison of two or more cultures on a number of variables with the aim to find out similarities and differences in psychological functioning, cultural psychology deals with the dynamics of the human mind and the relation between the human mind and a particular culture and the manner in which they constitute each other within sociocultural contexts.

While cultural psychology attempts to define and co-relate people in one or different cross cultural situations, cultural psychology tries to find out how individuals react to or interact with various aspects of a particular culture. During studies of cultural and cross cultural psychologies, researchers try and appreciate differences, similarities and contributions of both cultural psychology and cross cultural psychology of how individuals understands the role of culture in human psychological functioning.

The methodology associated with cross-cultural research

The Berry's classical acculturation model has been used as the method to study the relation between infant health and cross cultural psychology among the people of Pacific origin who migrated to New Zealand.

This model or theory was established by Kim and Berry in 1986 which is essentially a two dimensional model of acculturation for pluralistic societies and presents four different options which can be derived at from the answering of two separate questions either affirmatively or negatively. The two questions are - Is it desirable to maintain one's heritage culture, and is it desirable to have or maintain positive relations with other groups in the society?

The integration mode of acculturation is defined by affirmative answers to both questions. The assimilation mode is defined when an interviewee gives an affirmative response to the second question and a negative response to the first question while a combination of a positive response to the first question and a negative answer to the second question defines the separation mode. Marginalization is indicated when interviewees give negative answers to both questions.

The case study helps better understand how ethnicity, race, and worldviews are separate yet related concepts and role of enculturation.

The case is a classic example of how cross cultural psychology affects lives of people and especially migrants. In the case, the lives of infants who belonged to a family that clung closely to their culture fared better than those who did not. This was in relation to the fact that the migrants did not have complete access to a better life compared to the rest of the general population in New Zealand. The case helps to understand the role of ethnicity and race in developing cultural psychology. However even as people of different race, ethnicity and with different world views are linked to each other in terms of the universality of cross cultural psychology. Studies like this have indicated that individuals and communities have similar concerns and undergo similar psychological changes and impacts when they are placed in a cross cultural situation.

The process by which an individual or a group understands and assimilates the…

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