A Dual-Process Motivational Model of Cross-Cultural Adaptation
Past research suggests that immigrants are relatively inclined to maintain their cultural heritage and identity and at the same time engage with host nationals and the host society. However, to my best knowledge, no study has examined whether these 'inclinations' are in fact distinct motivational drives. I argue that the motivational drives of Cultural Maintenance Motivation (MCM) and Cultural Exploration Motivation (MCE) influence acculturation behaviours when individuals immigrate to another country and that these acculturation behaviours in turn impact psychological and sociocultural adaptation. The present research first examines the psychometric properties of scales designed to measure these two motivations in a preliminary study with international students (N = 50), and then investigates a dual-process model based on the relationships between the novel motivations, acculturation behaviours and psychological and sociocultural adaptation in a larger New Zealand migrant sample (N = 280). Results from structural equation modeling largely supported the proposed dual-process model. The findings suggest that MCM predicted psychological adaptation through ethnic peer connections, whereas MCE predicted sociocultural adaptation, which in turn predicted psychological adaptation. Thus the proposed novel motivations have predictive power and contribute to the extant acculturation literature. Implications of the findings for acculturation research, policy makers and migrants are discussed.