Methods: This is a quantitative study using survey data collected in Russian and English on Amazon MTurk (N=111). The study protocol was approved by the IRB of a northeastern research university.
Acculturation outcomes included marginalization (15-item scale, higher scores = higher marginalization) and assimilation (4-items scale, higher scores = higher assimilation). Independent variables were immigrant social ties (5-item scale, higher scores = stronger ties), social ties with Americans (3-item scale, higher scores = stronger ties), and transborder family ties (a single question on frequency of contacting families in the native country; higher scores = stronger ties). Control variables included age and gender. We used descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis, and linear regressions for analysis.
Results: The mean age was 32, 45% were women, 83% identified as Muslims, 69% reported a college or higher degree, and 50% had $50,000 or more household annual income. Bivariate results showed that marginalization is positively correlated with immigrant social ties (r = .52, p < .001) and negatively correlated with transborder family ties (r = -.24, p < .05); assimilation is positively correlated with immigrant social ties (r = .47, p < .001) and social ties with Americans (r = .41, p < .001).
The regression model for marginalization showed a significant positive association with immigrant social ties (β = .44, p < .001) and a significant negative association with transborder family ties (β = -.18, p < .05). The model predicts 36% of the variance in marginalization in our sample (R2 = 35.57, p < .001).
The regression model for assimilation showed a significant positive association with immigrant social ties (β = .41, p < .001) and social ties with Americans (β = .40, p < .001). The model predicts 38% of the variance in marginalization in our sample (R2 = 37.96, p < .001).
Conclusions and Implications: Contributing to the literature on the acculturation of religious minorities, this study identified the effects of different social ties on the acculturation process. The results for marginalization imply that Central Asian immigrants may experience cultural confusion when interacting with other immigrants, whereas connections with families provide a cultural frame of reference that prevents a sense of cultural homelessness. In the meantime, immigrant networks do not hinder but facilitate the integration of immigrants in the dominant culture. Future studies should explore the acculturation process through longitudinal investigation. Social work practitioners should focus on supporting the development of a balanced bicultural identity among immigrants.