Aging is associated with deterioration in health and well-being, but previous research suggests that this can be attenuated by maintaining group memberships and the valued social identities associated with them. In this regard, religious identification may be especially beneficial in helping individuals withstand the challenges of aging, partly because religious identity serves as a basis for a wider social network of other group memberships. This paper aims to examine relationships between religion (identification and group membership) and well-being among older adults. The contribution of having and maintaining multiple group memberships in mediating these relationships is assessed, and also compared to patterns associated with other group memberships (social and exercise).
Study 1 (N = 42) surveyed older adults living in residential care homes in Canada, who completed measures of religious identity, other group memberships, and depression. Study 2 (N = 7021) longitudinally assessed older adults in the UK on similar measures, but with the addition of perceived physical health.
In Study 1, religious identification was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, and membership in multiple groups mediated that relationship. However, no relationships between social or exercise groups and mental health were evident. Study 2 replicated these patterns, but additionally, maintaining multiple group memberships over time partially mediated the relationship between religious group membership and physical health.
Together these findings suggest that religious social networks are an especially valuable source of social capital among older adults, supporting well-being directly and by promoting additional group memberships (including those that are non-religious).
For demographic reasons and as a result of a number of high profile health incidents in recent years, much of the health research and policy focus is on the younger cohorts of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. A critical examination of recent demographic trends reveals, however, that older cohorts of the Aboriginal population are increasing at a faster rate than younger cohorts, primarily due to improvements in life expectancy and declining fertility rates. Yet, there are surprisingly few health studies that have recognized the aging of the Aboriginal population. The overall goal of this paper is to examine differences in health status, use of conventional health care and traditional approaches to healing between older and younger cohorts of the Aboriginal population as well as to examine the importance of age as a determinant of health and health care use. Using data from the 2001 Statistics Canada Aboriginal Peoples Survey and contingency tables and logistic regression, the results demonstrate that older Aboriginal people face unique challenges - e.g. loss of traditional approaches to healing, geographic isolation, identity politics, constitutional and legal divisions within the Aboriginal community - with respect to their health and access to health services. These outcomes result from a colonial past and contemporary policies that affect all Aboriginal people.
The relationships of personal acculturation and of personal-family acculturation match to depressive symptoms were investigated in a sample of 68 Muslim university students. Two dimensions of personal and family acculturation were assessed: heritage and mainstream culture identification. Participants completed the Vancouver Index of Acculturation (Ryder, Alden, & Paulhus, 2000 ) and the depressive disorder subscale of the Psychiatric Diagnostic Screening Questionnaire (Zimmerman & Mattia, 1999 ). For personal acculturation, individuals with high personal heritage culture identification reported fewer lifetime (but not past-year) depressive symptoms. In contrast, individuals with high personal mainstream culture identification reported more past-year (but not lifetime) depressive symptoms. The hypothesis that a match between personal and family acculturation orientation would be associated with fewer depressive symptoms was supported for heritage culture identification only. For past-year depression, the two match conditions (low or high personal and family heritage culture identification) were associated with significantly fewer depressive symptoms than a low personal/high family mismatch but did not differ from a high personal/low family mismatch. For lifetime depression, a high personal/high family match was associated with significantly fewer depressive symptoms than all other conditions. Findings suggests that, for Muslims, a match of high personal and high family heritage culture identification may act as a protective factor for the experience of depressive symptoms both in the short term (past year) and in the long term (lifetime).
OBJECTIVE: To explore the effect of acculturation attitudes and ethnic and national identity on behavior problems in arctic minority adolescents in northern Norway. METHOD: The Youth Self-Report, the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure, and acculturation strategies were completed by 581 indigenous Sami and 291 Kven high school students in 1994-1995, at age 15-18 years. Response rate was 85%. Behavior problems were in addition to ethnic/national identity and acculturation attitudes studied in relation to ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, parentage, ethnic language, and ethnic context. RESULTS: Although there were no ethnic group differences in behavior problems, the impact of ethnocultural predictors differed between ethnocultural and indigenous adolescents. Acculturation attitudes were most significant for indigenous adolescents' mental health, and identity issues showed the strongest impact on ethnocultural peers. The study revealed significant gender differences regarding the influence of ethnocultural factors, and contextual variation among Sami adolescents with the strongest impact in contexts with low density of Sami people. CONCLUSIONS: The significant ethnic group variations emphasize the importance of conducting both between- and within-group analysis on the impact of ethnocultural issues on behavior problems in minority adolescents.
This cross-sectional study examined the effect of immigration and acculturative stress on the mental health of a sample of 197 Lebanese immigrants in Montreal. An Orthogonal Model of Cultural Identification was used to determine whether the acculturation style adopted by immigrants had any effect on mental health or on acculturative stress. Results revealed no significant differences in psychological distress between the Lebanese sample and a comparative group of Quebec native-born. Among the indices of acculturative stress, adaptation problems alone predicted psychological distress. Finally, acculturation styles did not have any effect on psychological distress or on acculturative stress indices, with discrimination excepted. Individuals who adopted the Assimilation style reported less discrimination than those in the Ethnocentric and Integration groups. Results are discussed with reference to findings reported in the literature on Canadian studies.
The study examines the social and cultural experiences of adolescent female belonging to various south Asian immigrant groups in Canada. Applying qualitative research method, the authors interviewed 22 adolescent girls of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin in Montreal. Like other immigrant communities, south Asian families undergo acculturation stress. South Asians tend to integrate secular European cultural elements with their culture; however, family and community structure remain male dominated. The study showed that gender roles were maintained through gender segregation, control over social activities of girls and arranged marriage. Interviewees felt that their parents and communities have more stringent rules for female socialization than any other community in Canada. The study also found that adolescent girls perceived high social cost attached to protest and dissent, therefore, they accept prevalent conditions and expect to change social situation gradually. Some adolescents undergo stress resulting in behavioral problems.
The aim of this study was to examine ego identity status among Swedish adolescents using the EOM-EIS-II. Identity status scores and distributions were examined for 222 (108 female, 114 male) Swedish high school students. Identity status differences were found between genders. There was a greater likelihood of female adolescents being categorized as moratoriums than were males, and there was a greater likelihood of males being categorized as diffusions than were females. Statistically significant differences were found between genders on the following subscales: moratorium, foreclosure, and diffusion. No statistically significant differences were found between females and males on the identity achievement subscale. To achieve a preliminary construct validation of the results from the EOM-EIS-II, four of the 222 participants were also assessed using Marcia's identity status interview. A fairly good accordance between the interview assessment of identity status and the EOM-EIS-II assessment were found. Interview results showed differences between the interviewers on each subscale (IA, M, F, and D). The same differences were detected on three of four subscales when assessing these individuals' identity statuses using the EOM-EIS-II.
This article examines the effects of an Africentric youth and family rites of passage program on at-risk African American youths and their parents. Data were obtained from a three-year evaluation of a youth rites of passage demonstration project using therapeutic interventions based on Africentric principles. At-risk African American boys between ages 11.5 and 14.5 years with no history of substance abuse were referred from the criminal justice system, diversion programs, and local schools. The evaluation revealed that participating youths exhibited gains in self-esteem and accurate knowledge of the dangers of drug abuse. Although the differences were not statistically significant, parents demonstrated improvements in parenting skills, racial identity, cultural awareness, and community involvement. Evidence from interviews and focus groups suggests that the program's holistic, family-oriented, Africentric, strengths-based approach and indigenous staff contributed to its success.
A person-oriented approach was used in a study of age identification among community-dwelling older people. The study was based on 8-year follow-up data; 843 persons aged 65-84 were involved in the first phase of the study, and 426 persons aged 73-92, in the second phase. Loosely, on the basis of the distinction between successful, usual, and pathological aging (Rowe & Kahn, 1987, 1997), participants were grouped according to their self-ratings of cognitive and physical functioning as "Positive," "Negative," and "Others." Participants possessing at least 4 out of the 5 criteria used as indicators of successful aging in the study (no illness or injury presenting problems in daily life, no health problems imposing limitations on hobbies, self-rated cognitive functioning better than satisfactory, age-comparative functional capacity as good, and no signs of depression) were assigned to the "Positive" group. The results showed these individuals typically to have a more youthful age identity, indicated by a lower feel age and thus a lower subjective age-perception score, lower mental, physical, and look ages, and a less frequently reported sense of age weighing on them. Moreover, this group reported a higher ideal age and had a chronological age satisfaction score closer to 0, suggesting higher satisfaction with chronological age. Also a tendency to set the onset of old age later and a willingness to live to 100 years of age were features that were more characteristic of the "Positive" than the other groups. The findings, supported by multivariate analyses, were in line with those of previous variable-oriented studies on age identification, suggesting that an association exists between perceptions of personal aging and physical and psychological well-being.