Examining Acculturation Strategies in Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Mixed Methods Approach to Arts-Informed Research

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Virginia Tech

Extending far beyond migration to a new home, the cultural, emotional, and mental plight of immigration plagues immigrants and refugees of all ages. Nonetheless, immigrant youth are commonly overlooked in acculturation studies. This mixed methods approach to arts-informed research examined the acculturation strategies adopted by immigrant and refugee youth attending community-based programs. Through the use of participant drawings, the think-aloud technique, and the Acculturation, Habits, and Interests Multicultural Scale for Adolescents (AHIMSA) instrument, this research also examines the ways in which immigrant and refugee participants communicate their cultural paradigms. The findings emerging from this study illustrate that immigrant and refugee youth cope with cultural transitions through varied approaches that integrate expressions of individuality and cultural behaviors. By exploring six key findings, this study contributes to literature examining acculturation in youth populations as it provides an analysis of cultural transition that expands beyond traditional examinations of cultural behaviors, and highlights the importance of expressing individuality, values, and interests, in the acculturation process of immigrant youth.

arts-informed research, mixed methods research, youth acculturation, expressions of individuality, individuality in acculturation