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Mixing it up! Identity Strategies for Integration and Adaptation

On April 7th, Coleen Word (Co-chair of Center for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Professor at School of Psychology, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand) took part in the “Culture matters” research seminar.

In her talk, entitled “Mixing it up! Identity Strategies for Integration and Adaptation”. Prof. Ward analysed acculturation strategies used by migrants, especially the strategy of integration. Integration strategy is widely considered the most beneficial in terms of psychological and social welfare of migrants. The primary goal of the study presented by Prof. Ward was the examination of types of identity that are related to choosing integration as an acculturation strategy. In a qualitative study, the researchers have conducted interviews with Chinese, Greek, and Tonga migrants living in New Zealand. The interviews allowed to discern “mixed” and “changing” identities, both of which are positively related with choosing integration strategy. Prof. Ward discussed in detail how each of the identity types leads to choosing and implementing the strategy of integration. “Changing” identity type can lead to a conflict of ethno-cultural identity and lower subjective well-being. Also, this identity type does not always lead to integration. “Mixed” identity, on the other hand, does not lead to such conflict and generally contributes to well-being. Altogether, this identity type is more consistent with the strategy of integration.