Author(s): Ora NAKASH ; Maayan NAGAR ; Anat SHOSHANI ; Ido LURIE
Past research has documented the role acculturation plays in the process of adjustment to new cultures among migrants. Yet little attention has been paid thus far to the role of acculturation in the context of forced migration. In this study we examined the association between acculturation patterns and mental health symptoms among a convenience sample of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers (n = 118) who accessed health services at the Physicians for Human Rights Open-Clinic in Israel. Participants completed measures on sociodemographic information as well as detention history, mental health symptoms, exposure to traumatic events, and acculturation pattern, in their native language upon accessing services. Consistent with our predictions, findings showed that acculturation predicted depressive symptoms among asylum seekers beyond the effect of history of detention and reports of experiences of traumatic events. Assimilated compared with integrated asylum seekers reported higher depressive symptoms. Findings draw attention to the paradox of assimilation, and the mental health risks it poses among those wishing to integrate into the new culture at the expanse of their original culture. Asylum seekers may be particularly vulnerable to the risks of assimilation in the restrictive policies that characterize many industrial countries in recent years.
Tags: Detention, Depression, Traumatic life events, Acculturation, Eritrea, Sudan, Israel