Acculturation Versus Cultural Retention: The Interactive Impact of Acculturation and Co-ethnic Ties on Substance Use Among Chinese Students in the United States
Acculturation is often found to increase substance use among immigrants in the U.S., but such effect may depend on how immigrants are attached to their co-ethnic community. Meanwhile, the high socioeconomic status of some new immigrant groups also challenges the classical assumption that ties to co-ethnic community are associated with deviance. With a sample (n = 960) collected from a population of Chinese students in a large public university in the U.S., we tested how do the interplays between acculturation and co-ethnic ties affect substance use. This study establishes that: (1) different dimensions of acculturation have opposite effects on substance use; (2) acculturative stress does not explain the association between acculturation and substance use; (3) acculturation increases the likelihood of substance use only when one has weak attachment to their co-ethnic community. The findings are consistent for three dependent variables: smoking, drinking, and drunkenness, and for the different constructs of acculturation and co-ethnic ties. Ties to co-ethnic community may provide important social support for immigrants, while acculturation may alleviate the insular subculture that promotes at-risk behaviors. We encourage policy makers to consider the cooperative nature of acculturation and cultural retention for the improvement of health among this growing population.
KeywordsAcculturation Co-ethnic community Drinking Smoking Acculturative stress Chinese immigrant
The funding was provided by John Templeton Foundation (Grant No. 56480).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors (Xiaozhao Y. Yang, Fenggang Yang) declare no conflict of interest involved during any stage of the conduct of this research.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
- 8.Blau P. Inequality and heterogeneity-a primitive theory of social structure. New York: NY Free Press; 1977.Google Scholar
- 15.Cohen AK. A general theory of subcultures. In Gelder K, Thornton S, editors. The subcultures reader. 2nd ed. London: Routledge; 1955. pp. 50–59Google Scholar
- 19.Espiritu Y. Asian American panethnicity: bridging institutions and identities. Vol. 171. Philadelphia: Temple University Press; 1993.Google Scholar
- 21.Farrugia CA. Open doors 2015: report on international educational exchange. Institute of International Education; 2016.Google Scholar
- 24.Goldthorpe JH. Progress in sociology: the case of social mobility research. In: Svallfors S, editor. Analyzing inequality: life chances and social mobility in comparative perspective. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 2005. pp. 56–82.Google Scholar
- 36.Lara M, Gamboa C, Kahramanian MI, Morales LS, Bautista DEH. Acculturation and Latino health in the United States: a review of the literature and its sociopolitical context. Annu Rev Public Health. 2005;26(1):367–97. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.26.021304.144615.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 39.Lohr S. Sampling: design and analysis. 2nd ed. Boston: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning; 2010.Google Scholar
- 45.Millwood IY, Li L, Smith M, Guo Y, Yang L, Bian Z, … Chen Z. Alcohol consumption in 0.5 million people from 10 diverse regions of China: prevalence, patterns and socio-demographic and health-related correlates. Int J Epidemiol. 2013;42(3):816–27. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyt078.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 48.Pajo E. International migration, social demotion, and imagined advancement: an ethnography of socioglobal mobility. New York: Springer; 2008.Google Scholar
- 50.Portes A, Rumbaut RG. Legacies: the story of the immigrant second generation. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2001.Google Scholar
- 52.Pressat R. A dictionary of demography. New York: Basil Blackwell Ltd; 1985.Google Scholar
- 53.Raudenbush SW, Bryk AS. Hierarchical linear models: applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2002.Google Scholar
- 58.Scheid TL, Brown TN. A handbook for the study of mental health: social contexts, theories, and systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
- 60.Sorokin PA. Social and cultural mobility. Vol. 4. New York: Free Press; 1959.Google Scholar
- 65.Whyte WF. Street corner society. In: Cullen FT, Wilcox P, editors. Encyclopedia of criminological theory. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc; 1943.Google Scholar
- 66.Yang F. Chinese Christians in America: conversion, assimilation, and adhesive identities. College Station: Penn State Press; 2010.Google Scholar
- 68.Zane N, Mak W. Major approaches to the measurement of acculturation among ethnic minority populations: a content analysis and an alternative empirical strategy. In: Chun KM, Balls Organista PE, Marín GE, editors. Acculturation: advances in theory, measurement, and applied research. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2003. pp. 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar