A developing argument that individuals who live at the junction between two cultures and can lay claim to belonging to both cultures, either by being mixed race or born in one culture and raised by another, should be considered marginal people (Stonequist, 1935). However, Green (1947) stated that people who live within two cultures do not inevitably suffer. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature and theory based on the psychological impacts of being bicultural. Specifically we will look at models of second-culture acquisition including Assimilation Model, Acculturation Model, and Alternation Model. Unfortunately, little empirical research exists in this area, and the research found little empirical support. The goal can then be said to understand what is known, and to push for further empirical research since Canada is inevitably multicultural.
Assimilation model tries to explain the psychological state of a person living within two cultures that are perceived as dominant or more desirable. According to Gordon (1978), a number of sub-processes constituting various stages of the assimilation process: (a) cultural and behavioural assimilation, (b) structural assimilation, (c) marital assimilation, (d) identification assimilation, (e) attitudinal receptional assimilation, (f) behavioural receptional assimilation and (g) civic assimilation. Ruiz (1981) said that the goal of assimilation process is to ultimately be accepted by the cultures a person moves through these stages. This model leads to the hypothesis that an individual will suffer a sense of alienation and isolation until he or she has
been ultimately accepted by the culture (Sung, 1985). This person will experience more stress, be more anxious, and will suffer from more social problems such as school failure or substance abuse, more than an individual who is full intergrated into that culture (Pasquali, 1985). Kerchoff and McCormick (1955) found evidence of marginal personality characteristics among the Ojibwa Indians occurred in individuals who were inclined to identify with the dominant group but were facing impermeable barriers to assimilation. Ultimately, assimilation is the process for individuals to develop new cultural identities. Acquiring this new identity, however, requires some loss of loyalty to one’s original culture and can lead to three major dangers; peer rejection and excessive stress in learning new cultures.
Acculturation model is very similar to assimilation model in the fact that members are trying to get into another culture. The...