Factors Affecting the Settlement and Adaptation Process of Canadian Adolescent Newcomers 16-19 Years of Age

Rajko Seat

Principal Investigator

FAMILY SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF TORONTO

(Research study report)

 

INTRODUCTION AND CONCEPTUAL RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

Each year, approximately 200,000 immigrant and refugee newcomers come to Canada. Between 70,000 and 80,000 of these people (over half of the total number of those newcomers who settle in Ontario each year) come to live in Toronto (Who’s Listening, 1997). Also, it has recently been estimated that Canada receives between 25,000 and 35,000 new migrant children 19 years of age and younger every year (Hicks et al. 1993). The settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth is a multifaceted experience involving numerous different factors and making psychological (individual) factors an important source for both successful and unsuccessful settlement, adaptation and integration into Canadian society. Also, the process itself, in many cases, can be seen as an event of extraordinary intensity and stress. A number of recent studies with immigrant and refugee youth samples have revealed significant adaptive and integration problems previously eclipsed by the stereotype that these youth are problem-free and have perpetual academic success (Seat, 1997, Chiu and Ring, 1998, Rivera-Sinclair, 1997, Rousseau, 1997, Goodenow and Espin, 1993, Hunang, 1989, Pawiluk et. al. 1996).

For immigrant and refuge youth the experience of migration presents significant life changes in their environment, community and interpersonal affiliations. Reviews of literature on this topic point to long lists of variables to consider such as the language fluency, age, sex, degree of identification with the host culture, amount of social interactions with the host society, etc., (Berry et. al. 1987, Furnham and Bochner, 1986, Church, 1982). In Canada, in addition to facing the usual and highly intensive developmental issues specific for adolescence, as a time typically associated with difficult process of growth and independence, immigrant and refugee newcomer youth must start a new socialization process; they must meet new academic challenges, learn new school, teacher and parent expectations, gain acceptance into new peer groups, develop new kinds of social competence, etc. (Seat, 1998).

As newcomer immigrant and refugee youth settle, adapt and integrate into their new Canadian living environment, their cultural orientation, often referred to as "ethnic identity", is expected to shift. According to Phinney et al. (1990), cultural orientation is the degree to which a person is oriented or connected to the members and the values of her/his original ethnic or cultural group and to the members of other groups with which they have contact. Erikson (1968) pointed out that developing a consistent self-conception and identity is a task for every adolescent, and that ego identity formation occurs through the process of personal exploration and the formation of a coherent set of attitudes, values, and beliefs. According to Burke (1991), one derives the meaning of her/his identity from traits shared with one class of people in a given society. Thus, the identity that one constructs represents a set of internalized meanings that one attributes to the self in a social position or role. According to the author, the identity process represents a continuously operating and self-adjusting feedback loop that works by adjusting behaviors to reduce discrepancy and achieve congruence between the identity portrayed or given by the environment and the identity with own set of meanings constructed by the person.

The differences in immigrant and refugee newcomer youth living environments, those involved inside and outside their families, have been documented in recent multicultural literature (Wong, 1999, Rowe et al., 1994, Atkinson et al., 1993), as well as in our everyday work with newcomer youth. For these youth the settlement, adaptation and integration process, including the degree of their involvement with both the culture of origin and the mainstream culture, makes the identity formation a multidimensional and complex process. As these youth have been required to adapt both their parental traditional cultural values and those from the host culture as well, the process of their identity formation is usually associated with personal confusion and ambiguity. The identity formation in newcomer youth could make their settlement, integration and adaptation process painful and stressful because these youth may go through an experience of considering themselves to be a part of the mainstream culture, but realizing that others see them as another culture, and they may struggle with the mismatch between their self-identification and their received identification by others.

NEED FOR THE RESEARCH

Today, there is a negligible amount of research on the influence of different psychological factors within newcomer immigrant and refugee youth, that operate either to increase or lessen the probability of themselves displaying problems in different spheres of their settlement, adaptation and integration process. Throughout Family Service Association’s (FSA) work with newcomer immigrant and refugee youth and their families it has become increasingly clear that these young people, new to Canada, frequently encounter a variety of psychological challenges and problems relevant to their settlement, adaptation and integration process that can seriously interfere with their personal and school success, future well-being, etc. FSA has sought to identify the various psychological factors affecting, limiting or impeding their settlement, adaptation and integration process. Its experience suggests that the interpersonal and intrapersonal demands and corresponding outcomes of adaptation to cultural transition and change are not only highly salient to newcomer youth but also important in forecasting later outcomes of the settlement, adaptation and integration process. Although this reality is obvious, we still lack the understanding of the processes underlying a coping framework which includes specific type of adaptation reactions to different situations newcomer youth meet in their everyday life in a Canadian environment.

Another potentially important outcome, or expression of newcomer youth’s settlement, adaptation and integration success is the degree to which newcomer youth become satisfied with different parts of their life in their new living environment, including personal satisfaction and attitudes toward the mainstream society. Within the domain of developmental and social psychology, authors emphasized not only the importance of satisfaction, which represents the degree of subjective well-being, as the focal point in adolescent identity achievement and in acquiring sex-appropriate roles (Rogers, 1985, Lipsitz, 1979, Adams and Looft, 1977, Erikson, 1968) but also attitude formation as one of the most important products of socialization and in the establishment of a commitment to social values and norms (Alcock et. al. 1988, Myers, 1986). Neither has much attention been paid to these psychological relevant factors and attitudes nor prior study has examined and focused on the correlation of these different types of satisfaction and attitudes toward Canadian society with settlement and adaptation outcomes of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth. Thus, FSA’s research elaborates and makes explicit these different satisfaction and attitudinal patterns and the quality of their interactions with the settlement and adaptation outcomes of Canadian newcomer immigrant and refugee youth.

From FSA’s experience one more potentially important outcome of newcomer youth’s settlement, adaptation and integration success, that should gain more recognition, has been identified. It is related to personality functioning as one of key features of youth development. FSA’s experience strongly points out that information about some aspects of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth’s settlement, adaptation and integration outcomes may best be obtained through paying attention to the internal and less apparent characteristics and structure of their personalities. Indeed, we consider personality characteristics and dynamic structure as one of the vital and most consistent predictors of both newcomer immigrant and refugee youth’s settlement, adaptation and integration success and their well-being in the new Canadian environment.

PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH

The purpose of FSA’s research study was: 1) To investigate and explore the role of some of psychological factors involved in the settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer youth, and 2) To bring more light, knowledge and skills which would be useful and relevant to both more effective settlement service provision for newcomer immigrant and refugee youth and more sensitive adjustment of the host society, which is becoming increasingly multicultural, to these youth.

We consider the analysis of the above mentioned psychological factors as a new and unavoidable way of emphasizing the importance of newcomer youth’s external and intra psychic structure and its role in strengthening both the process of moving toward new self/identity and ensuring more successful settlement, adaptation and integration outcomes. Effectively dealing with these factors requires recognition of their causes, dynamics and in what situations they occur, and recognition of positive behaviors which are utilized to overcome their negative influence. The settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer youth is not a simple unitary entity. It has multiple facets, including psychological expression that needed to be investigated. Such an investigation can provide valuable insight into the nature of the cause and association between the settlement, adaptation and integration process and occurrence of various specific outcomes newcomer youth show in their everyday life. In addition, such knowledge could be used as a constructive base for comprehensive and more sensitive settlement service intervention with newcomer youth. It could help today’s settlement service provision to be able to deepen its insight into why and with whom each form of intervention is effective. At the same time, our research strongly emphasizes the help that will be offered to the Canadian society. In recognizing these factors and gaining appropriate knowledge about them, relevant institutions within the mainstream society would be aware of psychological background and specific needs of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth in order to support and facilitate their settlement, adaptation and integration process.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

METHODOLOGY

a) Participants

For the study’s quantitative analysis the target population was made up of 300 newcomer immigrant and refugee male and female youth: 130 boys (43.30%) and 170 girls (56.70%). Ages of the participants ranged from 16 to 19 years. The mean age was 17.29 years (SD= 1.18). To participate in the study, the participants had to be seven years or older when they came to Canada. Each participant in this study had to have lived in Canada for at least one year. It was assumed that during the first year of their life in Canada newcomer immigrant and refugee youth needed to solve many functional settlement related requirements (housing, school registering, orientation to new life, immediate adjustment, language, etc.). Also, we assume that during their first year in Canada newcomer youth, considering many different aspects and experiences relevant to a new life style, have started to form their attitudes toward Canadian society. The total sample was divided into six different groups, each consisting of 50 participants, representing today’s Toronto’s and Canada’s immigration trend. These were as follows: African (AFR), Caribbean (CAR), Central and South American (CSA), Chinese (CHI), Eastern European (EUR), and South East Asian (SEA).

b) Data collection

This study was located within the geographical boundaries of the City of Toronto. The participants were contacted and selected by research assistants who received a short training on how to recruit participants, administer the instruments, and collect the data. Before data collection began, pilot tests were conducted to assess the general ease of administering the instruments, the clarity and conciseness of the questions, and the appropriateness of the instruments. Data collection took place from November 1999 to the middle of March 2000. Before each interview began, the research assistants thoroughly described the study’s purpose and instruments. All of the participants were informed that after all data had been collected, that the study participants would not be identified individually. An average of 90 minutes was necessary for research assistants to complete the measures for one participant.

c) Instruments

In our study, participants were asked to complete the Demographic Questionnaire, Adaptation Response Scale, Personal Satisfaction Scale, Satisfaction with Parents/Guardians Scale, Satisfaction with Classmates Scale, Satisfaction with School/Teachers Scale, Attitude Toward Canadian Society Scale, Settlement and Adaptation Outcomes Scale, Youth Self Report (YSR) and Draw a Human Figure Test (DHFT).

We created all of the above mentioned instruments, except YSR and DHFT. The items for these instruments were derived from review of relevant psychological and research literature, consultation with immigrant, settlement, mental health and other service providers, and from our everyday experience with newcomer immigrant and refugee youth and reviews of the needs addressed for this populationWe defined settlement "as a long-term dynamic, two-way process through which, ideally, immigrants would achieve full equity and freedom of participation in society, and society would gain access to the full human resource potential in its immigrant communities".. Please see the Appendix for a short descriptions of the instruments employed.

RESULTS

a) The Demographic Questionnaire

The findings from the demographic questionnaire indicate many descriptive statistics of our study sample population. These are: 1) 9.9% participants in our sample were in grade ten, 29.7% in grade eleven, 30.00% in grade twelve, and 30.40 in grade thirteen, 2) There were 34.1% landed immigrants, 2.00% refugees, 63.7% Canadian citizens (data was missing for one participant), 3) Among the three main parental reasons for coming to Canada, our participants selected: 1. Better way of life/Improved standard of living, 2. More security and better overall life for their children, and 3. Better or more suitable jobs, 4) 9.00% of our participants stated that their parents did not have control of making the decision to come to Canada; while 31.00% stated some parental control, and 43.00% stated total parental control over the decision (1.00% data were missing), 5) At the time of arrival to Canada, 31.30% of the participants had no skills in speaking one of the official languages in Canada, while 21.00% had poor language skills, 17.30% fair, 16.7% good, and 13.00% excellent language skills (0.70% data were missing), 6) 72.7% parents of our participants were married, 13.30% divorced, 5.70% separated, 3.70% widowed (4.70% data were missing), 7) 11.70% mothers of our participants had no or elementary school education, 41.70% had some high school or high school, 27.30% had some university or bachelor degree, 7.00% had master degree or higher level of education (12.30% data were missing), 8) 5.30% fathers of our participants had no or elementary school education, 34.70% had some high school or high school, 26.30% had some university or bachelor degree, 12.70% had master degree or higher level of education (21.00% data were missing), 9) 25.30% mothers of our participants were unemployed, 68.00% were employed (6.70% data were missing), 10) 11.70% fathers of our participants were unemployed, 69.30% were employed (19.00% data were missing), 11) Our participants reported that 66.00% of their employed mothers, considering the mothers’ level of education and type of jobs they performed in their countries of origin, did not have appropriate jobs in Canada. At the same time, 34.00% of our participants, whose mothers were employed, reported that their mothers had appropriate jobs in Canada, 12) Our participants reported that 65.30% of their employed fathers, considering the fathers’ level of education and type of jobs they performed in their countries of origin, did not have appropriate jobs in Canada. At the same time, 34.70% of our participants, whose fathers were employed, reported that their fathers had appropriate jobs in Canada, 13) 46.00% of our participants had some jobs in Canada and 54.00% had no employment history in Canada, 14) 6.70% participants classified their families as poor, 21.00% as low middle families, 48.30% as middle families and 7.00% as high middle families (15.00% informed "do not know" and 2.00% data were missing), 15) 93.30% participants informed about some stresses at the beginning of their life in Canada (6.70% data were missing). Also they informed that their parents (89.00% of mothers and 78.7% of fathers) did experience some stresses at the beginning of their life in Canada (11.00% data were missing for mothers and 21.30% for fathers), 16) 89.70% participants informed that they never asked for any kind of professional help for their problems, and that 10.30% asked for some kind of professional help for their problems, 17) Our participants informed that 94.00% of their mothers never asked for any kind of professional help for their problems, and that 6.00% of their mothers asked for some kind of professional help for their problems, 18) Our participants informed that 96.70% of their fathers never asked for any kind of professional help for their problems, and that 3.30% of their fathers did ask for some kind of professional help for their problems, 19) 86.70% of our participants informed that they usually spoke with no one about their problems. If they did, 39.00% spoke with their parents, 14.00% with siblings, 39.30% with friends, 2% with teachers, and 1.30% with professionals, 20) 48.30% of our participants informed that in their new Canadian life they felt homesick, 10.00% withdrawn, 18.70% had stereotypes about Canadians, 6.70% felt aggressive toward Canadians, 18.00% felt that they lost ability to do in school effectively, 7.00% experienced inexplicable fits of weeping, and 12.30% felt irritable.

b) The Adaptation Response Scale

A reliability analysis was conducted for each of the scales in order to test the reliability of the measure, and each resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha (") over .82 (Physical response scale: " =.8858; Emotional response scale: " =.8337; Cognitive response scale: " =.8710; and Passive response scale: " =.8289). Each scale could range from 0 to 24. Table B1 shows the mean scores for each of the four response scales.

 

Scale

Mean

Std. Deviation

Min

Max

N

Physical Response

3.69

4.52

0

24

300

Emotional Response

11.70

5.22

0

24

300

Cognitive Response

7.05

5.45

0

24

300

Passive Response

8.67

5.04

0

24

300

According to the mean measures, the emotional response to the new life situations was the dominant response followed by passive responses, cognitive responses, and finally physical responses. Our findings indicate that emotional responses were the most dominant type of responding (reacting) to the situations/problems offered, newcomer immigrant and refugee youth could face in the course of their new life in Canada. It underlines a possibility that newcomer youth predisposed to emotional response are more likely to believe that they are not in control of the new life situations and contingencies, and that the consequences are determined. At the same time, it brings more light to their settlement, adaptation and integration process. Emotional responses comprise, according to today’s medical and psychological knowledge and practice, a higher risk of a symptom formation, stress experience, mood change, and other types of disturbances which may provoke more persistent internalizing (e.g., depression, withdrawal, anxiety) and externalizing (e.g., aggressiveness, conduct, attention-deficit hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant) disorders. Thus, our participants’ dominant adaptation approach to the new life situations/problems more likely comprises a higher risk of personal states such as tension, frustration, pressure, conflict, etc. At the same time, such approach includes the possibility of affecting the participants’ abilities of having a full control over the different ranges of stimulation that will lead to their successful and positive adaptational outcomes.

Table B2. Correlations among the four response scales to the new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life)

Physical Response

Emotional Response

Cognitive Response

Passive Response

Physical Response

1.000

.383**

.245**

-.169**

Emotional Response

   

.114*

-.292**

Cognitive Response

     

-.132*

Passive Response

     

1.000

** Pearson Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

* Pearson Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

 

The above table shows that a significant correlation exists between all of the measures. Indicating both the direction and the strengths of linear relationships between the four scale responses, the above calculated correlation coefficients confirm that the association (either positive or negative) exists between the four types of adaptational responses to the new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life), which newcomer immigrant and refugee youth could meet in their everyday life in Canada. Thus, the positive correlations between any two scales indicate that the participants scoring higher on one scale, tend to do so on another, while negative correlation between two scales indicate inverse association.

To determine if there was any significant differences between the means of the six sample groups in our research and the responses to new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life), an one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. If a significant relationship resulted from the ANOVA, it was followed by post hoc tests using the Tukey’s HSD (honestly significant difference) test at p<.05 to examine specific nature of the groups differences and determine the multiple comparisons between the sample groups. The one-way ANOVA suggests that only the emotional response scale to the new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life) was significantly different for the sample groups (F= 8.307 df=5 p<.000). Table A3 shows the results of the post hoc test.

Table B3. POST HOC TEST: Responses to the new life situations (outside life, family life, social life and personal life)

   

Mean Difference

(between groups)

EUR

CSA

-5.24*

 

CHI

-1.22

 

CAR

-4.48*

 

SEA

-3.48*

 

AFR

-2.00

CSA

EUR

5.24*

 

CHI

4.02*

 

CAR

.76

 

SEA

1.76

 

AFR

3.24*

CHI

EUR

1.22

 

CSA

-4.02*

 

CAR

-3.25*

 

SEA

-2.26

 

AFR

-.78

CAR

EUR

4.48*

 

CSA

-.76

 

CHI

3.26*

 

SEA

1.00

 

AFR

2.48

SEA

EUR

3.48*

 

CSA

-1.76

 

CHI

2.26

 

CAR

-1.00

 

AFR

1.48

AFR

EUR

2.00

 

CSA

-3.24*

 

CHI

.78

 

CAR

-2.48

 

SEA

-1.48

(* significant difference)

 

According to the above table, a follow-up Tukey test shows that a significant differences exist between the different groups related to their emotional response to the new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life). Thus, the participants in the EUR group were less likely to react emotionally to the new life situations offered (outside life, family life, social life and personal life) when compared with the participants from the CSA group. They were not going in the same directions and did not have the same degree of emotional responses like their peers in the CAR group. The results were essentially the same as the post hock testing between the EUR group and the CAR and the SEA groups. There was no difference between the EUR group and the CHI or the AFR groups. The CSA group was more likely to have an emotional response to the new life situations/problems than the CHI group and the AFR group. The CHI group was less likely to have an emotional response than the CAR group and the CAR group. Finally, the AFR group was less likely to have an emotional response that the CSA group.

c) Participants’ satisfaction with different parts of their life in Canada

Reliability analysis was conducted for each set of the twenty questions pertaining to six aspects of the participants’ life in Canada. The Cronbach’s alpha for each aspect of the participants’ life suggest that the measures are reliable. The following is the Cronbach’s alpha for each measure: Personal scale " =.7605; Parent/Guardian scale " =.7738; Classmates scale " =.8332; School/Teachers scale " =.7941; Attitudes toward Canadian society scale " =.7251; and Settlement and adaptation outcomes scale " =.8765.

The participants were asked to rate on a 5-point Likert scale whether they strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) to twenty statements pertaining to common sentiments that newcomer immigrant and refugee youth have toward these six aspects of their new life in Canada. Also, as we noted earlier, each series of statements contain positive and negative situations. Negative items were recoded for the analysis. Each scale ranged from 0 (total dissatisfaction) to 80 (total satisfaction). Table C1 shows the mean and SD scores for each of the six scales.

 

           

Personal Scale

52.82

9.49

25

75

300

Parents/Guardian Scale

49.25

9.83

15

73

300

Classmate Scale

53.49

11.17

15

79

300

School/Teacher Scale

48.78

9.71

5

75

300

Attitude toward Can. Society Scale

42.61

8.13

7

78

300

Settlement Outcome Scale

54.01

12.34

15

79

300

 

According to the above mentioned mean measures of the participants’ satisfaction with the six different aspects/parts of their life in Canada, it is possible to conclude that their satisfactions with these different aspects/parts of their new life in Canada are pretty high. The highest satisfaction level was indicated for the settlement and adaptational outcomes measure, followed by satisfaction with classmates, personal life, parents/guardians, school/teachers and finally attitudes toward Canadian life.

Table C2. Correlation among the measures of satisfaction with the new life in Canada scales

Personal

Parent

Classmates

School/Teacher

Attitudes

Settlement Outcomes

Personal

1.000

.577**

.625**

.461**

.237**

.568**

Parent/Guardians

   

.537**

.419**

.199**

.483**

Classmates

     

.520**

.194**

.696**

School/Teacher

       

.331**

.545**

Attitude

         

.188**

Settlement Outcomes

         

1.000

** Pearson Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

 

According to the above mentioned correlation measures, it is possible to conclude that the correlations between all of the satisfaction measures are significant and positive. From one side it means that all of the different satisfactions we measured, play very important role in newcomer immigrant and refugee youth’s life in Canada. Also, the above calculated correlation coefficients indicate positive and the same directions of the associations between the different satisfactions measured. Thus, when the satisfaction with one part of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth life in Canada goes up, all of the other measures of satisfaction also will increase and go up. As it is possible to see, the highest and pretty strong correlations were found between satisfaction with classmates and the settlement and adaptation outcomes (+.696) , personal satisfaction and satisfaction with classmates (+.625), personal satisfaction and satisfaction with parents/guardians (+.577), etc. The lowest correlation (+.188) was found between attitudes toward Canadian society and settlement and adaptation outcomes measure.

We also measured the correlations (associations) between the six different measures of the satisfaction with different aspects of life in Canada and the stress levels reported at the beginning the participants’ life in Canada. In the Demographic questionnaire, our participants indicated their stress level at the beginning of their life in Canada. They were asked to rate the stress levels from 0 to 10. A rating of "0" refers to no stress at all and rating of "10" refers to experiencing high stress.

Table B3 shows the correlations between the reported stresses experienced by our participants at the beginning of their new life in Canada and the different satisfactions with the new life in Canada

Table C3. Correlations of stress levels at the beginning of life in Canada an satisfaction with life in Canada

 

Personal

Parents/

Guardians

Classmates

School/

Teacher

Attitudes

Settlement Outcomes

Participants Stress at Beginning of Life in Canada

-.132*

-.179*

-.089

-.067

-.058

-.093

* Pearson Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

 

As it is possible to see all of the above calculated correlations are negative but only two of them are significant. These significant correlation coefficients show that weak negative correlations exist between experienced stresses at the beginning of live in Canada and both personal satisfaction and satisfaction with parents/guardians. Thus, we can generally conclude that our participants were slightly more likely to have greater satisfaction with new life in Canada if they were less stressed at the beginning of their life in the new Canadian environment.

To determine if there was any significant differences between the sample groups considering the measures of the different satisfactions with the new life in Canada, an one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. If a significant relationship resulted from the ANOVA, it was followed by post hoc tests using the Tukey’s HSD. The one-way ANOVA suggests that only the satisfaction with classmates (F=4.70 df=5, p<.000) and satisfaction with settlement and adaptational outcomes (F=3.28, df=5, p<.007) were significantly different for the sample groups. The post hoc tests were done for both satisfaction with classmates and settlement and adaptation outcomes.

Table C4. POST HOC TEST : Satisfaction with classmates by sample groups

   

Mean Difference

(between groups)

EUR

CSA

-2.14

 

CHI

5.80

 

CAR

2.48

 

SEA

4.72

 

AFR

5.98

CSA

EUR

2.14

 

CHI

7.94*

 

CAR

4.62

 

SEA

6.86*

 

AFR

8.12*

CHI

EUR

-5.80

 

CSA

-7.94*

 

CAR

-3.32

 

SEA

-1.08

 

AFR

.18

CAR

EUR

-2.48

 

CSA

-4.62

 

CHI

3.32

 

SEA

2.24

 

AFR

3.50

SEA

EUR

-4.72

 

CSA

-6.86*

 

CHI

1.08

 

CAR

-2.24

 

AFR

1.26

AFR

EUR

-5.98

 

CSA

-8.12*

 

CHI

-.18

 

CAR

-3.50

 

SEA

-1.26

* significant difference

 

According to the above table, a follow-up Tukey test shows that a significant difference exists between the CSA group and the CHI, SEA and AFR groups considering these participants’ satisfaction with their classmates. Thus, the positive coefficients of the Tukey’s test, which shows the significant difference between the above mentioned groups, indicate that the participants in the CSA group are more likely to be satisfied with their classmates than the participants in the CHI, SEA or AFR groups or that the participants from the CHI, SEA and AFR groups are less likely to be satisfied with their classmates than the participants in the CSA group.

Table C5. POST HOC TEST : Settlement and adaptation outcomes by sample groups

   

Mean Difference

(between groups)

EUR

CSA

-4.56

 

CHI

2.94

 

CAR

-.90

 

SEA

.56

 

AFR

4.30

CSA

EUR

4.56

 

CHI

7.50*

 

CAR

3.66

 

SEA

5.12

 

AFR

8.86*

CHI

EUR

-2.94

 

CSA

-7.50*

 

CAR

-3.84

 

SEA

-2.38

 

AFR

1.36

CAR

EUR

.90

 

CSA

-3.66

 

CHI

3.84

 

SEA

1.46

 

AFR

5.20

SEA

EUR

-.56

 

CSA

-5.12

 

CHI

2.38

 

CAR

-1.46

 

AFR

3.74

AFR

EUR

-4.30

 

CSA

-8.86*

 

CHI

-1.36

 

CAR

-5.20

 

SEA

-3.74

* significant difference

 

According to the above table, a follow-up Tukey test shows that a significant difference exists between the CSA group and the CHI and AFR groups considering their settlement and adaptation outcomes. Thus, the positive coefficients of the Tukey’s test, which shows that a significant difference exists between the above mentioned groups, indicate that the participants in the CSA group are more likely to be satisfied with their settlement and adaptational outcomes than the participants in the CHI and AFR groups or that the participants from the CHI and AFR groups are less likely to be satisfied with their settlement and adaptation outcomes when compared with the participants from the CSA group.

d) Personality characteristics as factors that affect the settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth

To provide an estimate of the personality characteristics that affect the settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth, who participated in our research, we employed YSR and DHFT.

YSR

YSR data of our participants (separately for boys and girls) were compared with the normative data of the Youth Self Report instrument. This comparison provides an estimate of how newcomer immigrant and refugee youth compare to randomly selected peers for this instrument (standardization sample). As we outlined earlier, YSR provides several subscale scores but only a total behavior problem score, and the internalizing (e.g., anxious, depressed, withdrawal) and externalizing (e.g., delinquent problems, aggression) scores, as two indicators/dimensions of dysfunction, were used in our study.

Table D1. Means and standard deviations for boys and girls on YSR

Total behavior Internalizing Externalizing

problem scale scale scale

Boys (N=130)

Mean 56.74* 57.91*** 57.64

SD 11.02 9.54 9.81

Exceeding 90th percentile 28 (21.5%) 27 (20.7%) 14 (10.8%)

Girls (N=170)

Mean 53.19 54.00 48.93

SD 7.95 9.87 7.71

Exceeding 90th percentile 21 (12.4%) 35 (20.6%) 18 (10.6%)

Boys and Girls (N=300)

Mean 55.12** 55.69** 50.87

SD 9.87 9.81 8.98

Exceeding 90th percentile 49 (16.3%) 62 (20.1%) 32 (10.7%)

* p<.10, **p<.05, *** p<.01

 

On the total behavior problems scale, significant differences from the randomly selected peers for YSR (standardization sample) were found for boys and girls (t=2.08, p<.05), and for boys alone (t=1.90, p<.10). Similarly, boys and girls combined together (t=2.35, p<.05), and boys alone (t=2.89, p<.01) differed from the standardized sample on the internalizing scale, while girls did not. There were no differences on the externalizing scale of YSR. Speaking about the above mentioned characteristics that could affect the settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth in Canada, we have to be aware that rates of adaptation within a population vary with the criteria of adaptation that is established. For the data from YSR instrument, we adapted a criterion employed by Heller et al., 1985. A score above 90th percentile [Total (T) score >= 63] was set as the criterion for adaptation difficulties. According to that, as Table D1 indicates, about one-fifth of the total participants in our study exceeded the 90th cut-off point percentile on the total behavior scale, and one-sixth of the total participants in our study exceeded the 90th percentile on the total internalizing scale. The rate for the total sample on externalizing problems scale was considerably lower, about one-tenth of the participants.

Based on these YSR findings it is possible to conclude that about 60 participants might be experienced behavior problems such as social, thought and attention problems, which all together tap them to handle themselves in interpersonal context. Also, about 50 participants had more internalizing problems, tending to "hold in" problems. They were likely to be depressed, anxious, or withdrawn. About 30 participants had more externalizing problems, tending to "act out" feelings. They were likely to be aggressive, hostile, impulsive, etc. Also, based on the data from YSR we can say, considering internalizing and externalizing personality characteristics and problem behaviors among our participants, that the above mentioned newcomer immigrant and refugee youth in this research seemed to be at somewhat elevated risk for psychological maladjustment during their settlement process. Also, we have to inform that these data should be interpreted with caution, because comparisons were made with the randomly selected peers (standardization sample), but not with matched controls.

DHFT

In our research, in stead of the huge specific information, relevant to each participant’s drawing, the explanation of the DHFT is very general. Our estimation and explanation of the human figure drawings are based on Machover (1949), Abt and Bellak (1950), and McElhaney (1969).

Size

According to the above authors, the relationship between the size of the drawing and the available paper space may parallel person’s self-concept and his/her dynamic relationship with the environment. Thus, the size is suggestive of the way the person responding to the environmental press. If the self-concept figure is small, the hypothesis may be formulated that the person feels small (inadequate) and that she/he is responding to the demands of the environment with feelings of inferiority. The frequency of small figures (considering both male and female human figure drawings, where the maximum number of drawings for each group was 100) in our sample groups was: AFR (24), CAR (20), CHI (24), CSA (22), EUR (19), and SEA (22).

If the figure is large, then the person is responding to environmental press with feelings of expansion and aggression. According to the authors, grandiosity of the drawings are also characterized for persons who have a need to see themselves as a powerful and dominating figures. Within the clinical setting, the very large figures are associated with euphoric manic persons. The frequency of large figures in our sample groups was: AFR (7), CAR (5), CHI (10), CSA (8), EUR (9), and SEA (8).

Location (placement)

There are five general placement possibilities: the upper half, the lower half, the left side, the right side, and the centre of the sheet. Those whose figures are placed in the upper half are those who feel unsure of themselves ("up in the air"). The frequency of upper half figures in our sample groups was: AFR (16), CAR (18), CHI (18), CSA (23), EUR (21), and SEA (24). Those whose drawings are on the left side of the paper sheet are self-conscious or introverted. The frequency of left sided figures in our sample groups was: AFR (14), CAR (18), CHI (20), CSA (17), EUR (18), and SEA (16). Those whose drawings are on the right side of the paper sheet are more oriented toward environment, contacts or are extroverted. The frequency of right sided figures in our sample groups was: AFR (10), CAR (9), CHI (12), CSA (9), EUR (10), and SEA (13). Those whose drawings are placed at the bottom of the page seam to be more stable, firmly rooted, calm. The frequency of bottom placed figures in our sample groups was: AFR (26), CAR (23), CHI (17), CSA (19), EUR (20), and SEA (19). Those whose are carefully centered are usually self-directed, adaptive and self centered. The frequency of carefully centered figures in our sample groups was: AFR (34), CAR (32), CHI (33), CSA (32), EUR (31), and SEA (28).

Distortions and omissions

Each distortion and omission on a human figure drawing has a certain meaning. For our purpose in this research, we were focused only on arms and hands missing, and the whole face missing or drawing a human figure from the back perspective. Their arms and hands are indicators of quality of contact and if they are hidden, the person is expressing contact difficulties. The whole face missing or drawing a human figure from the back perspective indicate the person’s significant problems in accepting reality and/or problems in dealing with everyday’s life demands. The frequency of arms and hands missing in our sample groups was: AFR (9), CAR (11), CHI (14), CSA (12), EUR (11), and SEA (10). The frequency of the whole face missing or drawing a human figure from the back perspective in our sample groups was: AFR (4), CAR (3), CHI (9), CSA (7), EUR (2), and SEA (8).

Significant indicators

We were focused to any of the indicators that could support the impression of current and potential serious problems of the person such as inappropriate thinking, bizarre characteristics manifested in drawing, tendency to label and to describe the different parts of the drawings, transparency, aggressiveness, hostility, etc. In the whole sample we found 14 drawings that indicate some type of seriousness, including the possibility of progressing toward more seriousness.

We have to note here that, instead of our attempt to be focused on more general approach to "data" from DHFT, all of these information have limited meaning. We are aware how risky it is to come to any definite conclusion, especially mentioning personality characteristics, on the basis of simply considering one data/score in isolation from others. It is only trends and patterns that really count. Single items only raise suspicious and only repeated deficiencies provide the basis for more definite conclusions. Thus, the data from DHFT, as a technique with no certain validity and reliability scores, should be supported by other relevant test findings.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

METHODOLOGY

A total of fourteen focus groups (twelve youth groups and two parent groups) was held. Twelve youth focus groups were organized with: Somali, the former USSR, Afghanistan, Bosnian/Croatian, Serbian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Chinese (Hong Kong), Finnish, Hungarian, Cambodian and Spanish speaking youth. Two parent focus groups were organized with Chinese and Serbian parents.

Approximately 80 different community-based, educational institutions and organizations were contacted in order to recruit focus group participants and acquire space. The total number of participants in focus groups was 97 (81 newcomer youth and 16 parents). A focus group methodology has been used to ascertain the settlement and adaptation perceptions and experiences of newcomer youth 16-19 years of age and their parents in their new living environment in Canada. The focus group size was a maximum eight participants in the group. The participants were informed that the idea of the groups was really to talk together and share personal thoughts and experiences in about an hour and a half to two hours. They were encouraged to provide their important experiences in relation to their settlement, adaptation and integration process, and to address their actual needs. The maintenance of confidentiality during discussion was emphasized.

SUMMARY OF YOUTH FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

a) English language difficulties

At the beginning of the participants’ life in Canada, English language difficulties and the concerns associated with this were emphasized as the first and the major difficulty for almost all participants in all groups. With no English language skills, the participants not only felt withdrawn, fearful, confused, guilty, depressed, isolated, marginalized etc., but also could not speak to other children, express their feelings, understand their teachers and their instructions, etc.

b) ESL programs

The opportunity for the participants of attending ESL programs at their schools was helpful, but not in all ways. Some stated that they had really responsive ESL teachers who not only provided them with intensive language instruction but also employed valuable teaching methods and materials. Some other stated that the ESL programs were simply not sensitive to their needs and demands and that ESL teachers were not flexible or employed techniques of teaching that were both difficult to understand and not interesting. All of the participants saw ESL programs as something which automatically separates and excludes newcomer students from others in the school who usually make fun of such programs and look at those who go to ESL differently. Thus, it is possible to assume that when newcomer students are relegated to ESL programs, it is not "cool" to go there, and at the same time, they become cloaked in stereotypical traits from other peers.

c) The same ethnic group peer network affiliations, support and communication

The same ethnic group peer network affiliations, support and communication were something that almost all participants valued as one of the most effective ways of getting help in dealing with issues relevant to their settlement, adaptation and integration process. Almost all of the participants indicated that their friends and close friends were from the same culture and those who spoke the same language. The participants mentioned that friends from their countries helped them to feel accepted and valued. Trust, support, intimacy, interactive relationships, mutual understanding, positive self-feelings and feelings of spontaneity with friends from the same culture have been mentioned as the most important factors that fulfill and increase the participants’ social needs, functioning and involvement, personal satisfaction, security, self-esteem and the development of personal marketable skills such as pride, feelings of acceptance, belonging, attachment etc. The communications with mainstream peers were indicated as more functionally based (working together in curriculum projects, school sport teams, etc.). The majority of our participants agreed that they were not members of the most popular crowds in their schools, and some explained that they established their own ethnic crowds in their schools.

d) Teachers and newcomer youth challenges associated with them

More than a half of the participants positively valued their teachers. These participants explained that their teachers helped them and provided very valuable support. Valuing support from their teachers, some participants explained that the opportunity of having a teacher from the same culture, who spoke the same language, was crucial and very beneficial at the beginning of their life in Canada. On the other hand, teachers were not frequently found to be sources of support. Some participants expressed that teachers are racists and sexist. Also it was emphasized that teachers do not value the potentials of their visible minority students and that they are not sensitive to the needs and experiences of immigrant students.

e) Feelings of belonging (fitting in) to the mainstream society

Two thirds of the participants strongly agreed that young people like them should possess strong feelings of belonging (fitting in) to the mainstream society. They describe "belonging" as an opportunity to feel part of the society and community where they live. Also, they see it as a promising pathway toward their future personal achievement and progress. Those who did not recognize the importance of feelings of belonging explained that in Canadian society power and money open all doors, thus it does not matter if someone feels that she/he fits in. Also, some participants expressed their radical orientation toward keeping themselves from fitting in. As a main reason for such an approach they mentioned that nobody cares about them and their families and because of that there was no reason to feel part of Canadian society. As a result, these youth do not acquire a sense of belonging and social support. Additionally, some being completely disappointed about the fact that Canada took part in dropping bombs over their homeland, expressed their confusion with double standards resulting in promoting human welfare on the one hand while dropping bombs and killing innocent kids and civilians, at the same time, on the other hand.

f) Traumatic premigration conditions and experiences

Traumatic premigration conditions and experiences were emphasized as being significant in the settlement and adaptation process of participants who were exposed to war in their home countries. These participants explained that during the war they not only witnessed firsthand casualties and injuries to members of their own families or neighbours but also experienced consequences of ethnic cleansing, extremely dangerous situations, cruelty, combat, killing, pain, extreme threat, constant artillery and gunfire, separation, forced isolation, etc. Thus, it is possible to conclude that these participants have been affected psychologically by war and suffered many traumas, being embedded in a climate of deadly hatred between ethnic groups in their home countries, which have significantly affected their settlement, adaptation and integration process.

g) Prejudice and discriminatory behaviors

Prejudice and discriminatory behaviors, that peers shown toward some of the participants, were also emphasized as one of the important and painful obstacles in their settlement, adaptation and integration process. The examples of hate, rejection, teasing, exclusion, harassment, bullying, shunning, provocation, vulgar name calling, verbal aggression, unpopularity, etc. were mentioned. In our focus groups, we also noticed that some participants used the other ethnic communities and their cultures in order to make fun of them, diminishing their values.

h) Age of the participants when they came to Canada

Age of the participants when they came to Canada was considered as one of the most important factors that significantly affects their settlement and adaptation process. The participants expressed that it was much harder to adapt to a new life in Canada for all of those who came to Canada as teenagers because they already started to go to school in their home countries and established strong friendships with peers there. Thus, it was possible to recognize that newcomer youth, who recently immigrated to Canada, feel in their new Canadian environment isolated, shy, uncertain, passive etc, experiencing, at the same time, certain adaptation problems. Some of them still feel as strangers and are not comfortable to communicate and interact with peers in their schools and neighbourhoods.

i) Participants’ life styles inside and outside of their families

The participants expressed their experiences related to the different life styles inside and outside of their families. Inside their families they were required to be more traditionally oriented toward their first language, original cultural values, religious beliefs etc. They explained that their parents were strongly concerned with preventing them from not becoming alienated from their original cultures, beliefs and values. Outside the families, the participants explained that they were required to learn new culture and language and to incorporate more of Canadian values and beliefs instead of resisting the new culture. Because of differences between the family ecology of newcomer youth and their new school and social environment, they are more likely to experience discontinuity between these two very important contexts not only for their identity but also for their cognitive, emotional and social development. Additional challenges associated with newcomer youth family environment come from parental unvillingnes to change, who were described by some participants as rigid and in some cases far from accepting and understanding the mainstream culture.

j) Good school and academic success was seen by parents as the only way to get ahead

Many of the participants explained that in Canada their parents put their hopes for the future in their children, and that a good school and academic success was seen by parents as the only way to get ahead. These participants mentioned that it was not rare for their parents to object to the time the participants wished and planned to spend on non-academic activities.

k) Parents were seen as weak identification models in their children eyes

More than a half of the participants in our groups explained that they view their family climate in Canadian environment changed and less stable comparing to the conditions in their home countries. They saw their parents as stressed and confused in some ways. Some participants mentioned that their parents were always on the depressed side because they were so wrapped up in their own problems, overwhelmed with unemployment, underemployment, relationship problems with spouse, children, etc. These participants saw their parents in the new Canadian environment as people experiencing increasing disappointments, frustrations, tension, lack of control over their lives and life changes, deterioration of their sense of well-being, etc. Newcomer immigrant youth need warm and accepting relations with their parents and strong parental figures as identification models to help them in acquiring many of the specific identity, socialization and other skills required by the new living environment and mainstream society. The above mentioned parental issues make their figures as weak identification models for their children in the new environment. Thus, newcomer youth may try to replace weak parental figures and identify with other models, which consequently may cause many negative outcomes and put them at risk of adapting negative and problematic values through the identification with problematic peer values, movie stars etc.

l) Participants were not well informed about the existing settlement and other relevant services

Our participants were not well informed about the existing settlement and other relevant services for newcomers. The majority mentioned the settlement related support, which they and their parents received, only from their existing family members, if those members exist in Canada. A few of them mentioned support from churches and culturally sensitive settlement service providers which was primarily related to ESL training for parents. Also, a few participants mentioned that their parents had problems but needed to work hard and overtime hours in order to ensure enough money for rent and food. The majority of the participants explained that they never used any kind of settlement services available. Also they explained that it was strange and unusual for them and their parents to seek for example counselling of any kind.

m) English language proficiency and importance of having friends

All participants in all groups mentioned English language proficiency as one of the fundamental factors to participate in Canadian society which can significantly facilitate the settlement, adaptation and integration process of all Canadian newly arrived immigrant youth. The importance of having friends also was emphasized for those who are newly arrived youth.

n) Newcomer youth like Canada’s entertainment life

Many of our participants mentioned that they like entertainment life in Canada. They said that such opportunities are presented more in Canada than in their home countries.

SUMMARY OF PARENTAL FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

a) At the beginning of their life in Canada parents felt excited, later uncertain

Almost all participants explained that during a few first months of their life in Canada, they felt very positive, enthusiastic, excited, and with great expectations about future and life. The parents described themselves as euphoric, optimistic and overwhelmed with positive plans and better quality of life. Later, they became preoccupied and frustrated with employment and underemployment, language problems, status, personal and identity change, relationships with their children and family problems due to change, acculturation and the integration process, relationships with the larger society, etc. Realizing and trying to elaborate on the separation from their home country and friends, parents explained that they felt uncertain, guilty, shame, depressed, confused, etc. Also, parents emphasized that they needed to adapt to new roles and search for new strength and resources in order to survive.

b) Parents would like to see their children keep the original cultural values, beliefs and norms

The majority of parents felt that their children should keep their original heritage. They accept the reality of their new environment in Canada, but believed that the strong connection with original culture and values would protect their children from many uncertainness in Canada. Some explained that they would like to give their children the chance to decide what they want to learn about their original culture.

c) Parents mentioned concerns about their children’s education

Some parents were concerned about the issues that affected their children in school and explained that they were concerned with fact that there was no homework for their children. Also, they believed that the curriculum and the school programs were more conceptualized in their home countries and that children in their home countries learned more than Canadian children.

d) Parents were concerned about communication and discipline strategies with their children

The parents explained the difficulties in communicating with their children and trying to keep them following established home rules. Some parents mentioned that their children were not open in their communication with them and that they could not recognize what their children had in their minds. The parents explained that these things happened because their children felt very strong support from the larger society in order to be independent and make personal decisions. The another parental reason, due to their language problems, was connected to the fact that some parents used their children to facilitate the parental communication with the larger society, and children felt more control over their parents. The parents explained their concern that their children were too young to make some decisions and that they always needed the parental support. Also, the parents explained the difficulties in controlling and disciplining their children in order to keep them responsible. They worried that in Canada they become less consistent in their use of discipline and/or that they become less effective in monitoring their children’s activities and whereabouts. Many parents also emphasized that the mainstream culture emphasizes a belief in individualism, but that they want to socialize their children interdependence, with greater emphasis on mutual understanding, cooperation, sharing, reciprocity, etc.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN SERVICE TO NEWCOMER YOUTH

1. That structures and mechanisms for settlement service delivery for newcomer immigrant and refugee youth provide opportunities for interaction with their Canadian peers

The newcomer immigrant and refugee youth, who took part in our research, do not have mainstream youth as close friends. These youth usually become accustomed to and comfortable with a more solitary social and community life at the beginning of their life in Canada and continue this way of life by not developing larger or deeper social networks with their mainstream peers. As we saw, the first stage of their life in Canada has significantly influenced the further stages of their settlement, adaptation and integration process. Being mostly passive (because of language problems, feelings of isolation, etc.) at the beginning, newcomer youth remain with limited perceptions about the ways how to improve their status and social competence. Thus, support among existing structures and mechanisms for settlement service delivery is very important not only for their settlement, adaptation and integration process but also for their psychological well-being. Within the existing settlement service delivery support could be achieved through the creation of new youth-oriented policies and practices that will foster coherent and integrated service and program initiatives. For example, within the "HOST" program, more initiatives in order to bring newcomer youth and their mainstream peers should be planned and realized in order to facilitate newcomer youth’s acceptance.

2. That a more integrated holistic approach which engages the "family" unit and utilizes community resources is taken in settlement for newcomer immigrant and refugee youth.

Based on our research findings it is clear that newcomer youth and their families in Canada need specific support in order to strengthen and maximize their capacities and resources to achieve successful settlement, adaptation and integration outcomes. Thus, the core of this recommendation is that federal government should allocate/transfer financial support to local community-based agencies who serve families in order to make room and respond to many urgent needs and pressures newcomer families face in their new life in Canada. For example, ESL programs, that currently take the largest funding, should not be considered as the one biggest needs of newcomers in Canada. We agree that ESL programs are one of newcomers’ vital needs, but in order to meet other intrinsic newcomer needs, the current funding strategy should be restructured. Family-centred, needs-based, flexible, well-managed and multi-faceted community-based initiatives and programs for newcomer youth and their families is necessary. The basic assumption of these initiatives and programs is that by improving early assistance for newcomer families there would be more positive relationships and climate within these families. This does not mean the traditional approach and provision of individual and/or family counselling services. Basically, it means community-based approach that will engage newcomer youth and their families to reduce the duration and extremity of their confusion, crisis, problems, etc. Local community-based agencies who serve families should play a crucial part in the settlement, adaptation and integration process. They should be financially supported to develop programs and initiatives that encourage, support and facilitate newcomers’ engagement and participation to positively and optimistically embrace the challenges of new life.

3. That school Boards be recognized as a critical component in the settlement process and more program initiatives are required within the school system to address the settlement process for both parents and youth, and school personnel

Our research findings show that while school boards have showed their commitment and professionalism in contributing to positive settlement, adaptation and integration outcomes, the door still remains open for many practical improvements. In order to help parents to better deal with their experiences caused by a collision of cultures and values, school boards should take much active steps in developing strong and functional relationships with parents of newcomer youth. Parents need help in resolving their confusion and expectations from their children. Thus, school boards should offer an opportunity for immigrant parents to learn about teaching methods and philosophy, curriculum, role of teaches, relationships between teachers and students, relationships between students themselves etc. School boards should also search for the opportunities to make curriculum reflective to immigrant student experiences. Teachers themselves should be aware about newcomer students’ experiences and curriculum preferences. Also, the benefits and values of ESL programs need to be acknowledged at the entire school level. In ensuring implementation of the above mentioned priorities we do recognize instrumental help from settlement workers within school boards. These workers can be active catalyst in building bridges between newcomer immigrant and refuge youth, and their parents with their schools and teachers.

4. That funding be directed to programs and initiatives that increase and facilitate not only information, orientation, community involvement, newcomer youth access to mainstream services but also that assist mainstream service providers to develop culturally appropriate services for youth which incorporate their cultural context

We learned that newcomer immigrant and refugee youth experienced many specific problems at the beginning of their life in Canada and that they have very limited access to many relevant services that are available within the mainstream society. It is clear that they need more help and support to benefit from their community involvement, which at the same time represents, along with their families and schools, an important pathway through which the socialization process occurs. These youth and their parents desperately need more information not only about service available but also how and why to use such services. It means that more relevant programs and initiatives are needed to improve their access to service available in order to meet many different needs that would result in positive settlement, adaptation and integration outcomes. In so doing, newcomer youth and their families will have an opportunity to make a proactive shift that is empowering and will help them to better maintain themselves. Also, it would be very beneficial to include as many as possible resources within the mainstream society to help newcomers, including youth, to achieve good start and quality of life in their new Canadian environment. Thus, funding initiatives that will accelerate, attract and mobilize different mainstream organizations would be welcomed and helpful in finding answers to the following questions: a) What cultural and social factors they need to maximise a sense of belonging within newcomers?, b) How they can achieve positive images of diversity in the community and celebrate this diversity?, c) How they can contribute to newcomer employment needs?, d) How they can help in suppressing feelings of isolation, marginalization, etc., and all social ills that entails?, etc.

5. That more research on a longitudinal basis be conducted to further identify factors related to positive youth settlement and success in adult years

Our research pointed out that the settlement, adaptation and integration process of Canadian newcomer youth has to be viewed from the socialization and developmental perspective. Thus, more new research, preferably longitudinal and action oriented research, are needed to explore the specific elements of newcomer immigrant and refugee youth settlement, adaptation and integration process. Sharpening sensitivity on a range of structural and functional factors related to the settlement experience of newcomer youth and their families that influence both newcomer youth’s basic adaptation capacities and perceptions of life in new Canadian environment will not only explore the enormity of many so vital determinant of their settlement process but will also provide needed knowledge base to improve the progress of the settlement service provision.

CONCLUSION

The study’s quantitative and qualitative findings provide a clear evidence that the settlement, adaptation and integration process of newcomer youth is multidimensional. The components identified constitute the basic process of newcomer youth development in their new living environment, and underline both positive and negative settlement and developmental outcomes. It is our strong belief that the recommendations, coming from the study’s findings, would serve as a helpful resource not only to the mainstream society’s more devotion to the needs of newcomer youth but also its willingness to design effective and sustained programs for these youth.

 

 

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Appendix

The Demographic Questionnaire, as a semi-structured instrument, it covered questions related to sex, grade, length of stay in Canada, status in Canada, reasons for migration, official language proficiency, parental marital status, parental education background, parental employment status in Canada, participants and parental level of stresses experienced at time of coming to Canada, nature of stresses experienced, possible health changes as a result of stress experienced, help seeking, use of existing settlement services, suggestions for settlement service improvement.

The Adaptation Response Scale consisted of twenty-four hypothetical situations relevant to newcomer youth everyday life in Canada. Hypothetical situations were created and used in this scale in order to ensure and involve not only participants’ different experiences but also a variety of their responses and strategies to deal with these situations. The situations were divided into four different areas: outside life, family life, social life and personal life.

The following situations are examples of outside life situations: "While waiting at a red light in the car, together with two friends, and listening to songs from your home country, a pedestrian is approaching the car and through an open window is sarcastically commenting: "What a stupid noise...Is something wrong with either that CD or the car’s speakers?", and "You brought old newspapers in your language of origin to your local neighborhood centre that collects old newspapers, and a collection person is saying to you: "Oh, I am sorry but these newspapers are garbage not recyclable".

The following situations are examples of family life situations: "Your father, who was a well known professional in his field in your home country, is informed that he got a job in Canada as a security guard" and "Your parents/guardians are refusing to participate in your class project named "Families together" which proposes bringing ethnic and mainstream families together to share and discuss parenting issues".

The following situations are examples of social life situations: "Popular Canadian media negatively portrays your original nation" and "You are listening to a call-in radio program in which a few immigrant activists are talking about equity and human rights in Canada, but the telephone responses from many listeners are: "If immigrants are not satisfied with human rights and democracy in Canada, why don’t they go back to their home countries?".

The following situations are examples of personal life situations: "You just realized that some of your mainstream peers from your school said a lot of untruths about you and that they made fun of you", and "You are preoccupied with the dream, that you had a few days ago, in which you burned the Canadian flag and tried to hide out but were arrested".

The possible responses/answers were divided into four different categories: physical, emotional, cognitive and passive, each consisting of three separate responses/answers, which were marked from A-L . Physical responses included: (A) I start to tremble, (B) I become red/blush, and © I feel my heart beats harder. Emotional responses included: (D) I get angry/upset-I swear, (E) I become sad, and (F) I feel a big tension. Cognitive responses included: (G) I will learn a lesson, (H) I am patient/calm, and (I) I can control myself. Passive responses included: (J) I don’t care, (K) I will pray, and (L) I will put it off.

The number of responses was not limited, so participants could chose as many as responses/answers they feel describe their true response (reaction) to the situation.

The Personal Satisfaction Scale was a 20-item measure of personal satisfaction consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negative worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "In Canada, I am satisfied with how I am doing in school" and "I feel that in my new life in Canada I make full use of my whole potentials (abilities)". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "In Canada I feel like a stranger lost in a new city who is in need of a map for help in reaching his/her destinations" and "I ignore my problems and think about other things".

The Satisfaction with Parents/Guardians Scale was a 20-item measure of satisfaction with parents/guardians consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negatively worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "My parents/guardians are open to and allow me to be friends with my peers/classmates from other cultures/nationalities" and "The bond that I have with my parents/guardians has helped to make me a confident, secure, and effective (intelligent) human being". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "I feel that my parents/guardians and I represent two different worlds in Canada, I am changing they are remaining the same" and "I am afraid that my parents/guardians could desert me because of changes due to my acculturation and adaptation in Canada".

The Satisfaction with Classmates Scale was a 20-item measure of satisfaction with classmates consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negatively worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "I feel comfortable sharing my interests, values, beliefs and attitudes with my mainstream classmates" and "My mainstream classmates see me as an interesting individual". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "It is only wishful thinking to believe that my mainstream classmates would accept me as a real friend"and "I find talking about smoking, alcohol drinking, my sexual activities, risk-driving, etc., are the easiest ways to seek comfort and affirmation among my mainstream classmates".

The Satisfaction with School/Teachers Scale was a 20-item measure of satisfaction with school/teachers consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negatively worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "I view my school as a safe and welcoming environment" and "My school provides me with both a solid knowledge base and motivation to plan and strive for my continuing education". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "I feel that my teachers do not understand how I feel as an immigrant adolescent experiencing settlement, adaptation and other relevant changes in my life" and "I experience difficulties in identifying with my school values or following the school discipline rules".

The Attitudes Toward Canadian Society Scale was a 20-item measure of attitudes toward Canadian society consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negatively worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "There is equity and justice for all in Canadian society, with plenty of opportunities" and "In Canadian society, values of multiculturalism and inclusion are highly recognized and practised". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "Canadian environment is a harmful (place) that is unpredictable and full of worry and uncertainty" and "There is a significant gap in Canadian society between governmental policies about immigrants and implementation and realization of these policies in real life (or local community level)".

The Settlement and Adaptation Outcomes Scale was a 20-item measure of the settlement and adaptation outcomes consisting of 10 positively worded items subscale and 10 negatively worded items subscale. The following items are examples of positively worded subscale: "I experience many interesting, rewarding and pleasant things that are happening to me in my new life in Canada" and "I feel that I am well adapted and integrated, and as a result that I have a positive and satisfying life in Canada". The following items are examples of negatively worded subscale: "I am confused about what I, as an adolescent immigrant, am supposed to look like and act like in my new Canadian environment" and "I feel that I will always be considered as a stranger in Canada".

For all of the above mentioned scales, responses were made on a 5-point Likert-type scale anchored by (1) strongly disagree, (2) somewhat disagree, (3) neutral, (4) somewhat agree, and (5) strongly agree. Participants could use only one answer to describe their satisfaction with each item.

Youth Self Report (YSR) is a well-known and researched, psychometrically sound scale comprising 112 items. This scale was developed by Achenbach and Edelbrock, 1991. It assesses specific youth behavior and provides information of their functioning within a number of areas. An adolescent rates different items as 0, 1 or 2. In our study we were concerned with the participants’ responses to several items representing three global constructs which generalize from the instrument. The first construct is total behavior problems which represents a conglomeration of behavior problems such as social problems, thought problems and attention problems, which all together tap the adolescent’s to handle himself/herself in interpersonal context. The two remaining constructs are called internalizing symptomatology and externalizing simptomathology. The internalizing symptoms represent a conglomeration of those behavior problems that are more internal in their nature and include behaviors such as withdrawal, somatic complains and anxiety/depression. By contrast, the externalizing symptoms represent a cluster of behavior problems that are overt in their nature and include behaviors such as delinquent problems and aggressive behavior. The YSR appears to have adequate reliability with test-retest reliability coefficients ranging from .82 to .90 (Achenbach, 1991).

Draw a Human Figure Test (DHFT), developed by Machover, 1949, is one of the most popular and commonly used personality techniques. In our research, we used DHFT only to provide screening in order to obtain some general information about the participants’ personality characteristics that could affect their settlement, adaptation and integration process. DHFT was not used for any other purpose. We used DHFT because it is culture-free test whose administration is very easy. A participant was presented a blank sheet of paper, pencil and eraser and asked to draw a human figure. After finishing, s/he was presented another blank sheet of paper and asked to draw a human figure of opposite sex. Several formal scoring systems have been developed for DHFT. In our research we were focused on: 1) size of figure which is associated with the person’s self-concept and relationship with his environment 2) location (placement) of figure which is associated with subjective feelings that in person's orientation system implicate certain direction, 3) distortions and omissions on the drawing, which suggest that conflicts may be related to the part distorted/missed, and 4) significant indicators, which were associated with potential serious problems of the person.