The purpose of this study was to investigate Internet usage and its relationship
with the acculturation of the Horn of Africa immigrants residing in urban Minnesota.
Technology has and continues to be a cultural amplifier; in just two decades from its
initial availability to the general public, the Internet has made geographical differences
practically irrelevant, making the world a virtual small village. Social interactions that
were once only possible face-to-face can now take place online. This innovation in
communication plays a crucial role in the acculturation process of immigrants, allowing
them access not only to social media platforms, but mapping tools, translation websites,
online banking, video sharing sites and many other potentially empowering resources that
affect how they encounter life in their new environments.
This study utilizes Berry’s bi-dimensional theory of acculturation to investigate
the relationship between Internet usage and acculturation. Berry’s four dimensions of
acculturation provide a theoretical guideline for this study. Also employed here are
communication theoretical perspectives in studying Internet usage and acculturation.
The participants were 292 Horn of Africa immigrants attending English language
classes in adult education programs in the upper Midwestern part of the U.S. A series of
multiple regression analyses are used to determine the unique contribution of each
variable in predicting acculturation. The study revealed statistically significant relationships among Internet social-networking usage and dimensions of acculturation.
The most powerful predictor of Internet usage was level of education, often achieved
prior to immigrating to the U.S. Internet usage did contribute to integration, the most successful strategy for acculturation of immigrants from this group. Perceived English
language competency alone accounted for 15% of the variance in integration and 17% of
the variance in assimilation. Based on these findings, path models for Internet usage and
acculturation are proposed. Further, implications for both research and practice are
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2013. Major:Work and Human Resource Education. Advisor: Rosemarie J. Park. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 237 pages, appendices A-F.
The relationships between internet usage and acculturation of the Horn of Africa immigrants in the United States.
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