Latina/o immigrant well-being in the heartland : a path analysis of acculturation, enculturation, and perceived discrimination
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A growing body of literature documents recent trends in Latina/o immigrant settlement in non-traditional communities throughout the South and Midwest. These areas present unique strengths and barriers for immigrant settlement. Drawing on Berry’s (1974; 1997; 2001; 2003; 2013) model of acculturation and research on well-being outcomes associated with discrimination, the current study tested a model of immigrant well-being with a sample of 122 Latina/o immigrant participants living in the rural Midwest. Specifically, this study explored hypotheses that (1) the relationship between acculturation/enculturation and well-being (i.e. life satisfaction and psychological distress) may be mediated by discrimination experienced in settlement communities, and (2) discrimination experiences may lead to increased psychological distress, which will, in turn, result in decreased life satisfaction. Results indicated good model fit, but only partial support of hypotheses. Specifically, the model supports the hypothesized pathway between discrimination experiences and global judgments about life satisfaction, mediated by increased psychological distress. However, associations between acculturation/enculturation and perceived discrimination were non-significant. These findings echo existing research which establishes that experiences of discrimination have deleterious effects on the physical and mental health of members of oppressed groups (APA, 2006; Pascoe & Richman, 2009). Results further suggest current measures of acculturation may be insufficient to explain immigrants’ complex settlement experiences. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed.