Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Marc Schenker & Belinda Campos
Acculturation is the process of individual or group adjustment to a new culture. As a result of continuous contact with a culture that is different from his or her culture of origin, an individual typically undergoes psychological, behavioral, and attitudinal changes that can affect psychological and physical health. The relevance of acculturation to public health is an issue of national, and increasingly global, importance. The process of acculturation can take many paths. Individuals may embrace new cultural beliefs and practices, strive to retain culture of origin, or develop bicultural identities. Acculturation in the United States, however, has repeatedly been associated with numerous adverse health behaviors such as increased smoking and drug use. Understanding acculturation processes and constructs that underlie acculturative change is central to developing effective public health practices and policies that promote healthy populations. This entry examines Latino acculturation to the United States to illustrate the importance of acculturation ...