Volume 13, Issue 3 p. 491-517
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Acculturative stress and coping among migrant workers: A global mixed-methods systematic review

Andrian Liem

Andrian Liem

Department of Communication, Centre for Macau Studies, University of Macau, Macau, China

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Andre M.N. Renzaho

Andre M.N. Renzaho

School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University, Penrith South, NSW, Australia

Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith South, NSW, Australia

Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

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Kevin Hannam

Kevin Hannam

University of Saint Joseph, Macau, China

University of Johannesburg, Johannesbuurg, South Africa

Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain

Technological Higher Education Institute, Hong Kong, China

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Agnes I.F. Lam

Agnes I.F. Lam

Department of Communication, Centre for Macau Studies, University of Macau, Macau, China

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Brian J. Hall

Corresponding Author

Brian J. Hall

NYU Shanghai, Shanghai, China

School of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence

Brian J. Hall, NYU Shanghai, China; Department of Health Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD USA.

Email: [email protected]

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First published: 03 April 2021
Citations: 12

Funding information:

This study received no funding from any individual or institution.

Abstract

No existing review has synthesized key questions about acculturation experiences among international migrant workers. This review aimed to explore (1) What are global migrant workers’ experiences with acculturation and acculturative stress? (2) What are acculturative stress coping strategies used by migrant workers? And (3) how effective are these strategies for migrant workers in assisting their acculturation in the host countries? Peer-reviewed and gray literature, without time limitation, were searched in six databases and included if the study: focused on acculturative stress and coping strategies; was conducted with international migrant workers; was published in English; and was empirical. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Three-layered themes of acculturation process and acculturative stress were identified as: individual layer; work-related layer; and social layer. Three key coping strategies were identified: emotion-focused; problem-focused; and appraisal-focused. These coping strategies were used flexibly to increase coping effectiveness and evidence emerged that a particular type of acculturative stress might be solved more effectively by a specific coping strategy. Migrant workers faced numerous challenges in their acculturative process. Understanding this process and their coping strategies could be used in developing research and interventions to improve the well-being of migrant workers.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

BH is one of the guest editors for Special Issue on Migration and Health: Translation to Action, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being journal. But neither were involved in the peer review nor editorial decision processes regarding this manuscript. AL, AR, KH, and AIFL have no conflict of interest to be declared.