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VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Antecedents of cross-cultural adaptation: A meta-analysis 1988-2025

Alternative title: Forutsetninger for kryss – kulturell tilpasning: en meta-analyse 1998-2025

Awarded: NOK 8.5 mill.

Modern societies are faced with unprecedented amounts of migration and promoting inclusion of migrants is one of the most pressing priorities of today’s era. The ACCA project responds to it by applying state-of-the art meta-analytic techniques to integrate and systematize the existing knowledge on migrants’ cross-cultural adaptation. Cross-cultural adaptation covers outcomes typically seen as indicators of successful inclusion of migrants: well-being and satisfaction with life in the new culture (psychological adaptation), culture-specific behavioural skills that allow the migrant to “fit in” (socio-cultural adaptation), and favourable occupational outcomes (occupational adaptation). By integrating the findings from approximately 600 existing studies, ACCA will considerably advance the understanding of how these favourable outcomes can be achieved. It will provide the largest and the most comprehensive systematic test of the existing theoretical models of cross-cultural adaptation and acculturation to date. It will test a large number of factors that may be relevant to adaptation, including different social and institutional resources for migrants, different sources of migrant stress, cultural differences, factors related to learning the new culture, and factors related to migrant perceptions of the receiving societies. ACCA will evaluate how these factors behave in different contexts of migration (e.g., different countries), and how they influence adaptation over time. By identifying which factors facilitate adaptation the most, and which ones are detrimental to migrant outcomes, ACCA aims to inform migration policies at any level, help increase the efficacy of any initiatives aiming at supporting migrant inclusion, and ultimately to contribute to improved quality of life of migrant populations and to the harmonious coexistence of culturally diverse groups in multicultural societies.

With unprecedented amounts of migration, understanding which psychological factors contribute to successful inclusion of migrants is one of the top priorities of today’s era. Yet, cross-cultural adaptation research cannot fully assist with this priority because it is scattered across several disciplinary areas and plagued by contradictory results and difficulties to replicate key findings. To reach meaningful conclusions, cross-cultural adaptation research is in urgent need of a comprehensive, methodologically robust synthesis, and the current project will provide it. In four work packages (WPs) consisting of a series of large-scale, methodologically advanced meta-analyses, this project will systematically integrate findings on factors that impede or facilitate three aspects of migrants' adaptation to living in their receiving societies: psychological (i.e., well-being), socio-cultural (behavioral fit into the new culture) and occupational (occupational roles and outcomes). It will produce a large, comprehensive and continuously updated database of quantitative studies on adaptation (WP1), test a high number of possible, theoretically derived antecedents of adaptation to identify those of crucial importance for migrant outcomes (WP2), assess the universality of these antecedents by meta-analytically testing their robustness to different contexts of migration (different receiving countries, different countries of origin, different migration motives; WP3), and provide insights into causality by meta-analyzing longitudinal studies and establishing whether these factors indeed precede adaptation or contrariwise (WP4). As the largest meta-analytic endeavor in the area of migrant acculturation to date, this project will considerably advance the understanding of how migrants may achieve favorable psychological and societal outcomes, inform migration-related policies and interventions at any level, and ultimately contribute to improved welfare of migrant populations.

Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon