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Pursuing goals you really want: Motive congruence and well-being in Turkish immigrants

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Better measures for immigrants' well-being

It is not easy to measure the well-being of immigrants against their true desires to integrate into their host country. A new approach using a more implicit line of questioning has the potential to clarify the picture.

Climate Change and Environment

The process of absorbing the culture of another society, i.e. acculturation, plays a crucial role in the well-being of immigrants when they move to their new host country. Research has revealed that when people's goals are not in line with their implicit needs, they become depressed and emotionally distressed. This holds especially true for immigrants moving to a new country, a phenomenon studied by the EU-funded project 'Pursuing goals you really want: Motive congruence and well-being in Turkish immigrants' (Acculturation). Project researchers looked at the Turkish example in the Netherlands, examining the role of identity as a determinant of well-being. It explored how this immigrant group aligns commitment to its original culture with its desire or need for acculturation in the new host country. In this context, unhappiness and homesickness were probed to shed light on acculturation and hopefully ease immigrant integration in the long run. Surveying 134 Turkish-Dutch individuals, the project team evaluated their implicit drives to understand their explicit motivation. This would allow the team to pinpoint acculturation level on a fixed scale. The approach involved several indicators on subjective well-being, documenting implicit and explicit affiliation, achieved identity, adaptation and cognitive well-being. From this analysis, the team concluded that individuals who establish their identity by aligning explicit goals and implicit desires to adapt to the host culture may suffer. It found that an already strong sense of identity was more difficult to shape, revealing that other approaches might be more promising for immigrants to adapt to the host country. This first ever study to including implicit measures in measuring acculturation showed that an alignment of motives, be they implicit or explicit, is an important yet neglected predictor of well-being. A study of immigrant well-being that takes these factors into consideration would almost certainly be more accurate in its assessments.

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