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Open AccessArticle

Prioritising Family Needs: A Grounded Theory of Acculturation for Sub-Saharan African Migrant Families in Australia

1
College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia
2
College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia
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College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9020017
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 2 January 2020 / Accepted: 9 February 2020 / Published: 14 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Community and Urban Sociology)
Pre-existing acculturation models have focused on individual orientation and may not be fully applicable to African migrants due to their strong connection to family. In this study, we utilised qualitative semi-structured interviews to explore how 22 migrant families from eight sub-Saharan African representative countries: Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe, who now reside in Townsville, Australia experienced the acculturation process. Data were analysed at the family unit level using the three steps of grounded theory method: open, axial and selective coding. The theory derived illustrates that the acculturation process involves two major phases (maintaining core moral values and attaining a sense of belonging) within which six categories were identified. Three of the categories were related to deeply held heritage values and beliefs (family relationships, societal expectations and cultural norms), while the other three (religious beliefs, socio-economic gains and educational values) indicated integration with the host culture. These categories constitute central concerns for the participants and demonstrate what matters to them as a family unit and not as individuals. We conclude that a selective process of “prioritising family needs” determines the acculturation strategy of sub-Saharan African migrant families, aiding the fulfilment of their migration goals, ensuring effective functioning of the family unit, and enabling them to be productive members of their local community. View Full-Text
Keywords: individualistic; collectivist; cultural values; acculturation strategy; sub-Saharan Africa; family needs; grounded theory individualistic; collectivist; cultural values; acculturation strategy; sub-Saharan Africa; family needs; grounded theory
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MDPI and ACS Style

Akosah-Twumasi, P.; Alele, F.; Smith, A.M.; Emeto, T.I.; Lindsay, D.; Tsey, K.; Malau-Aduli, B.S. Prioritising Family Needs: A Grounded Theory of Acculturation for Sub-Saharan African Migrant Families in Australia. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 17.

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