Acculturation science: Limitations and new directions

Miriam J. Alvarez, Angel D. Armenta, Michael A. Zárate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The influx of immigrants into the United States has increased the country’s cultural diversity. Approximately 40 million foreign-born individuals were living in the United States in 2010, comprising approximately 13% of the total population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). The change brought by immigration to the United States is irrefutable. Reactions to immigration are often byproducts of how immigrants incorporate into mainstream American culture. Whether an immigrant decides to adopt to American culture or retain the culture of origin has critical implications for majority-minority group relations. This chapter presents a brief history of acculturation and future directions in acculturation science. In this effort, the chapter discusses metaanalytic research in the field of acculturation and health. Special consideration is given to the tools and methods used to understand acculturation. As society changes, the dynamics and factors that impact daily behaviors, interactions, and environments are key elements in shaping the ways in which individuals acculturate. The dynamic nature of our society is an element that is commonly left out of acculturation frameworks. Here, we propose the cultural inertia framework as a framework that interacts with the acculturative process.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMental and Behavioral Health of Immigrants in the United States
Subtitle of host publicationCultural, Environmental, and Structural Factors
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780128161173
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Acculturation theory
  • Cultural inertia
  • Immigration
  • New directions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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