Date of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Griffin, Robert J.

Second Advisor

Garner, Ana C.

Third Advisor

Shuter, Robert M.

Abstract

Communication activities within the Chinese community are expected to impede Chinese students' effective acculturation in the United States. Specifically, Chinese students who prefer to communicate more often with their Chinese friends and attend more social activities organized by the Chinese community are expected to have limited cross-cultural communication, retardative language adaptation, and surplus ethnic cultural attachment. These phenomena would result in the adoption of passive acculturation strategy defined as separation orientation among the ethnic group. These expectations are consistent with Kim's cross-cultural adaptation theory, which posits that excessive ethnic social communication activities tend to discourage sojourners' long-term adaptation to the host culture. Berry's immigrant acculturation model also supports these hypotheses from a social psychological perspective. His model proposes that immigrants' or sojourners' desire to maintain heritage culture identity has negative influence on their acculturation process. The web survey is conducted among 118 Chinese students currently enrolled in three major universities or alumni recently graduated from these schools in the Milwaukee area. Statistical tests such as hierarchical multiple regression, pairwise t-test and partial correlation were conducted to analyze the data. It is found that communication activities do not have direct influence on people's acculturation level; rather, the effects seem to work indirectly through their language adaptation, which has strong direct influence on the types of acculturation orientation adopted by sojourners and their degree of acculturation.

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