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Immigrants Should Be Independent and Proactive to Achieve Better Social Integration

Previous research has shown that immigrants who approach, rather than avoid, social stimuli are more likely to have positive attitudes toward integrating with people in their host country (Matschke & Sassenberg, 2010). In some recent research, my colleagues and I investigated whether immigrants’ problem-solving style was also involved in this relationship.

We asked 137 Australian immigrants to complete measures of approach vs. avoidance orientation and independent vs. interdependent problem-solving style. To measure social integration, we then asked the immigrants to indicate (a) the proportion of Australian friends that they had, (b) how included they felt in Australian society, and (c) how satisfied they were with their employment, accommodation, and life in Australia.

We found that immigrants who had an independent problem-solving style and a strong approach orientation reported having the greatest proportion of Australian friends and feeling the most included and satisfied with their life in Australia. Based on this evidence, we believe that immigration services should encourage immigrants to (a) take charge of their own integration (i.e., independent problem-solving) and (b) make proactive efforts to achieve this integration (i.e., approach orientation) in order for them to achieve the highest levels of social integration in their host society.

For more information about this research, please see the following research article:

Rubin, M., Watt, S. E., & Ramelli, M. (2012). Immigrants’ social integration as a function of approach-avoidance orientation and problem-solving style. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36, 498-505. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.12.009

A self-archived version of this journal article is available here.