The Relationship Between Mental Health, Cultural Identity and Cultural Values in Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) Australian Adolescents
In Australia, acculturating adolescents from a non-English speaking background (NESB) face two important challenges: developing a cultural identity and establishing a set of cultural values. These challenges are achieved by balancing a native and Australian orientation. It was expected that NESB adolescents who did not achieve these tasks would experience poor mental health. This study focused on adolescents because a significant relationship between cultural identity, cultural values and mental health in this group will highlight a need for sensitivity to such cultural and developmental issues. Two hundred and sixty-three NESB adolescents completed questionnaires that assessed cultural identity (Australian and native), cultural values (individualism and collectivism), state mental health (depression, anxiety and stress) and trait mental health (positive affectivity [PA] and negative affectivity [NA]). Results indicated that high Australian pride and high native pride are associated with lower depression, anxiety, stress and NA, and higher PA. Results also indicated that adolescents high on individualism and collectivism reported lower depression and stress, and higher PA. Furthermore, adolescents with a separated cultural identity (high native pride and low Australian pride) reported the highest levels of depression, but adolescents with separated cultural values (high collectivism and low individualism) reported the lowest levels of depression and anxiety. We concluded that cultural identity and cultural values are differentially related to mental health, and such relationships, albeit moderate, emerge during adolescence.
Psychology not elsewhere classified