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Immigrant Acculturative Stress and Mental Health

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This program will examine the role of acculturative stress on individuals’ mental health. It will distinguish the acculturative stress that people experience due to limited linguistic proficiency from the stress that they incur as a result of having to navigate a new culture, with a different set of norms, customs, ideologies, and even practices for interacting with a healthcare system and its representatives. Acculturative stress will be thoroughly defined, and relevant examples will be provided. The populations most susceptible to acculturative stress will also be presented. The presenter will use her own experiences as an immigrant who has experienced acculturative as a lens for discussing best practices for ameliorating the acculturative stress of immigrants, and for improving their mental health outcomes. The presenter will also incorporate opportunities for attendees to reflect on their own immigrant story, if relevant, as a means for exploring some of the concepts discussed.

This program will use Bandura’s (1978) social cognitive theory, specifically the notion of self-efficacy, as the theoretical framework for understanding acculturative stress and its impact on immigrants’ psychological well-being. The presentation will focus on two key context where acculturative stress may exert the most profound negative effects: work and school.

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