Acculturation Stress Among Older Indian Americans: Understanding the Challenges of Cultural Transition.




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Background: Acculturation involves the process through which immigrants assimilate the attitudes, values, traditions, beliefs, and practices of a new culture. Acculturation stress, a form of psychological distress stemming from conflicts between an immigrant or ethnic minority group's values and those of the dominant culture, is a prevalent concern among Asian Indians. This study examines acculturation stress among older Asian Indian Americans, a growing subpopulation facing unique challenges in navigating cultural transitions. Methods: The study adopted a mixed-method approach targeting older Asian Indian Americans (aged 55 and above) in the DFW area, combining survey responses with in-depth interviews. Financial incentives were provided to participants. Utilizing a qualitative framework, the research analyzed participant responses to a series of statements to elucidate their experiences of cultural stress, including perceptions of discrimination, feelings of foreignness, identity conflicts, and concerns over cultural assimilation. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics in SAS 9.4, offering insights into the acculturation stress experienced by this demographic. Results: Respondents comprised of 74.19% (n=23) women and 25.81% (n=8) men. Ages range from 12.90 % (n = 4) at 50-54 years, 32.26% (n = 10) at 55-64, 35.48% (n=11) at 65-74 years, and 19.35% (n=6) at 75 and older. Several significant acculturation stress themes were identified. Key issues include identity conflict, leading to feelings of isolation; discrimination, contributing to marginalization; cultural loss, causing grief and anxiety; intergenerational conflict, straining family dynamics; and adverse mental health outcomes like depression. Most participants feel acculturated, except for notable feelings of missing their home country and family. Conclusion: The findings highlight the complexity of acculturation stress among older Asian Indian Americans, revealing a significant impact of identity conflict, discrimination, cultural loss, intergenerational conflict, and mental health issues. While age appears to be a notable factor in acculturation experiences, further research is essential to explore additional variables affecting acculturation, such as immigration status, age at immigration, and geographical location. This study underscores the need for a broader understanding of the multifaceted acculturation process within the Asian Indian American community to inform targeted support and interventions.