Date of Award

Spring 6-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Veronica E. Johnson

Second Reader

Philip T. Yanos

Third Advisor

Shuki Cohen


Acculturation has been defined as “changes that take place as a result of contact with culturally dissimilar people, groups, and social influences” (Gibson, 2001). This experience can cause stress for those experiencing it, especially when the individual is having a hard time adjusting to a new culture (Kim, 2019). One’s nativity, a person’s native-born status in their environment, and racial/ethnic group can also contribute to their experience of acculturation due to personal differences that these demographic variables create (Bondy et al., 2017; Hall & Carter, 2006). Studying race, nativity, perceived discrimination, and acculturation are essential for understanding the experiences of people of color (POC; i.e., Asian American, African American, Latinx, Native Americans). The current study examined the relationships between perceived discrimination and acculturation stress. Two hundred forty individuals participated in the study, consisting of major POC racial/ethnic groups in the United States: Latinx, Non-Hispanic Black, and Asian Americans. The study aimed to explore the relationship between perceived discrimination and acculturation, and to explore if racial/ethnic group and nativity were significant factors in that relationship. It was hypothesized that higher levels of perceived discrimination would account for a significant amount of variance in acculturation stress, indicating that perceived discrimination may influence the level of stress experienced. Additionally, it was hypothesized that acculturation would be further affected by racial/ethnic groups and nativity status (i.e., foreign- vs. U.S-born). The results found that race and sex were significant demographic variables, and that race and discrimination stress significantly contributed to the experience of different types of acculturation stress.


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