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ISSN : 2233-6710(Print)
ISSN : 2384-2121(Online)
Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling Vol.8 No.2 pp.37-56

Acculturation, Enculturation, and Ethnic Identity: Comparing Americanraised and Foreign-raised Asians in the U.S.

1University at Albany - SUNY
2University of Missouri
Corresponding Author
Jennifer Bordon, Devision of Counseling Psychology, Education Building 220, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222, USA


Asian individuals in the U.S. may have different psychological states depending on whether they are American-raised Asians (ARAs) or foreign-raised Asians (FRAs). Distinguishing factors that may affect how they internalize such psychological states are acculturation, enculturation, and ethnic identity. This study examines how ARAs and FRAs experience acculturation and enculturation differently in terms of how this impacts their ethnic identity and mental health. The sample comprised 46 ARAs and 64 FRAs living in the U.S. Results suggest that ARAs had higher levels of acculturation whereas FRAs scored higher on enculturation, as expected. Findings also revealed no interactions between FRA/ARA status on acculturation/enculturation levels and ethnic identity. However, main effects were more prominent regarding the impact of cultural factors on mental health. For example, affirmation, belonging, and commitment to one’s ethnic identity appeared to serve both groups in buffering against depression and improving satisfaction with life. Practical implications and future directions are discussed.

Jennifer Bordon1, Ze Wang2