The first generation of South East Asia that moved to the U.S was due to the need for financial support and better security. One of the major causes that contributed to migration stress is political insatiability in their country of origin. The immigrants experience was one of the most stressful experiences that they underwent. This is because some had to leave their families and friends behind. Immigration removed the people from their community roles, customs and language. Additionally, it placed them in a strange place of different cultural practices and environment. This contributed to stress because adapting to the new environment is not easy and immigrants had to learn new cultural ways.
Thus, the cultural identity in the face of new culture became a stressful experience. This is because of the cultural shock, which is explained in three phases. These include the cultural encounter, reorganization and the new identity. The process seemed to be a stage of development, whereby the immigrants were force to assimilate the new culture and language. Moreover, finding the new identity was a stressful problem because it forced many immigrants to start learning new language in order to break communication barriers. Acquiring new identity and retaining their cultural identity became difficult, if not impossible.
In addition, the immigrants experienced acculturative stress because the process caused change to the giving and the receiving culture. This led to a process known as the inter-culturation. The first generation that moved to the U.S experienced stress because immigrants often chose one strategy of acculturation, which is maintaining domestic culture. This became asters due to the choosing to what extent cultural characteristics are crucial to maintain (Bhugra & Becker, 2005). Another one is cultural participation, which also became acculturation stress because the immigrants found it difficult to mingle and participate in the host culture. Third strategy is integration process and this is similar to assimilation. This became a stress to the immigrants because they were undecided if they could acquire new cultural values or retain their cultural practices alone. The last strategy is marginalization whereby the immigrants wanted to separate themselves from the host culture in the U.S. This became stressing because they were unable to make a decision for marginalization (Chih Huang, 2001).
The changes that took place due to language, lifestyle, cultural value and social support affected immigrants in many ways. First, the acculturation affected their families, because the acculturation process led to intra-familial stressors. This threatened the family bonds thorough the responses of conflicting acculturation. Moreover, even the second or third generation may differ from the main culture in their values and behaviors. Changes in the language communication took place because of different ethnic groups. This took place because of different immigrants who moved to the U.S and every ethnic group had its own language of commutation. The immigrants were encouraged to learn different language, but mostly English was commonly used. English was the only language for social acceptance and integration. Those who tried to educate their children only mother tongue faced social conformity from the peer group. According to Berry (1997), the First generation learnt adequate English languages in order to survive economically. In addition, their cultural lifestyle and values changed.
A stress model is a theoretical framework that analyzes the cause of challenging behaviors. The model emphasizes that all challenging behaviors emerge from a state of stress, thus individuals can reduce stress through expressions and understanding of one’s emotions. When the Bengalis and Indian immigrants moved to the U.S, they faced many challenges in the new culture including laws and cultural values, beliefs and norms as well as varied social behaviors. Such challenges contributed to particular stress known as the acculturative stress. Many research studies reveal that stress is an essential factor for the mental health of immigrants. However, too much stress can result in mental illness. Thus, the greater the differences between the two cultures, the more stress an immigrate has to deal with. There are varied multidimensional models that focus on the acculturation as a simulation, language and beliefs processes. Numerous research done by the psychologists and sociologists tries to explain that stress model in one of the measuring scales; this enables one to determine acculturation process that immigrants experience in a foreign country (Mehta, 2000).
The contribution of stress in the process of acculturation among the Bangladeshi and the Indians are varied. The major contribution is acculturation process of the immigrants and the anxiety. The research study reveals that the immigrants experience more anxiety and stress for being separated from their families and friends (Chih Huang, 2001). Moreover, they experience pressure from the new culture and sometimes prejudice against their cultural beliefs. For instance, the Bengalis contained the bigger number of Muslims religion and they were prejudiced by the people, which may contribute to acculturation stress. Moreover, the social problems when trying to work together with the other social groups may contribute to acculturation stress (Yee, 1994). The
Another contribution to stress is loss of one’s social structure which may cause a painful reaction. Immigration can result in loss of language, cultural values, norms and social structures. Being stressed for this loss is seen as a health reaction and natural consequences. However, the symptoms may cause significant impairment and psychiatric intervention may be necessary. The loss of social structure, self-identity and cultural values can lead to cultural bereavement, according to Bhugra and Becker (2005). Cultural bereavement occurs when immigrants settle in the new environment, whereby they are forced to adapt to traditions of the host society. Some of the immigrants may suffer from stress because of abandoning their cultural values and norms. They feel the pain because of the loss of the memories, which begins to fade. Thus, they find constant traumatic images intruding in their day to day life.