Cultural stress and adaptation : the experience of Venezuelan crisis immigrants in the United States




Perazzo, Patrizia

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As of August 2022, the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency confirmed that there are 6.8 million displaced Venezuelans worldwide. This makes Venezuelans the largest group of refugees and crisis migrants worldwide, tying with Ukraine and surpassing Syria for the first time (Alvarez, 2022). Even though the number of Venezuelans in the U.S. continues to grow, their migration and acculturation experiences are not well understood. Once they arrive in the U.S., Venezuelan migrants continue to face challenges and stress, such as adapting to a new culture, language, system, and overall environment, which exacerbates the stress and trauma that this group of migrants brings with them. The present study examined the experiences of Venezuelan crisis immigrant parents. Using an explanatory sequential mixed-method design, the present study was guided by two objectives. The first objective was to quantitatively examine the relationships among cultural stress, cultural adaptation, psychological symptoms (anxiety and depression), and how this relationship is impacted by co-ethnic density and Latino/a density. The second objective was to qualitatively examine how access to cultural elements (such as food, cultural traditions, and customs, support from other Venezuelans, etc.) in their environment may contextualize the relationship between cultural stress and psychological symptoms. Quantitative results indicated that Latino/a density had a marginal moderating effect on the relationship between psychological adaptation and depressive symptoms. Specifically, for participants in neighborhoods with a greater percentage of Latino/a residents, psychological adaptation was less strongly and negatively related to depressive symptoms. Regarding the qualitative results, four themes emerged. One of the most important findings highlighted that the most influential aspect of adaptation is being able to cover basic needs.


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