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Intersectionality of acculturation and friendships in Asian youths: A review of the literature

15 July 2013


In 2010, approximately 17.3 million people in the United States identified as being full or part Asian, representing the fastest growing race group in the United States from 2000 to 2010. The growing number of Asians living in the United States elicits questions about the daily experiences of these individuals as they navigate the journey of acculturating to a new life in a new country. Thus, acculturation—the process of cultural change resulting from adapting and adjusting to a new culture—earns a spotlight in the literature of cross-cultural psychology. However, much of the acculturation literature lacks depth and breadth of information regarding how acculturation and acculturative stress can impact not just the psychological, but also the social adjustment for many Asian youths. In Westernized societies, adolescence is viewed as a time marked by increasingly important peer relationships. Drawing from the significance of acculturation and social relationships for Asian youths, this paper examines how the nature of peer relationships plays against the backdrop of acculturation. Specifically, it examines the extant literature on acculturation and peer relationships in Asian youths in order to promote meaningful dialogue about the intersectionality between the two domains. Further, gaps in the current landscape of acculturation research are addressed, and future directions to propel research in cross-cultural psychology are proposed.


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