The acculturation gap-distress model purports that immigrant children acculturate faster than do their parents, resulting in an acculturation gap that leads to family and youth maladjustment. However, empirical support for the acculturation gap-distress model has been inconclusive. In the current study, 428 Mexican–American adolescents (50.2 % female) and their primary caregivers independently completed questionnaires assessing their levels of American and Mexican cultural orientation, family functioning, and youth adjustment. Contrary to the acculturation gap-distress model, acculturation gaps were not associated with poorer family or youth functioning. Rather, adolescents with higher levels of Mexican cultural orientations showed positive outcomes, regardless of their parents’ orientations to either American or Mexican cultures. Findings suggest that youths’ heritage cultural maintenance may be most important for their adjustment.
- Acculturation gap
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)