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Research Perspectives on Constructs of Change: Intercultural Migration and Developmental Transitions

Laosa, Luis M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Adjustment (To Environment), Cultural Differences, Developmental Psychology, Immigrants, Models


In every society there are certain important life events that are predictable and normative therein and that demand from the individual some major and lasting personal change; they are often - but not always - connected with a biological change of life (e.g. puberty, graduations, maturity, parenthood, retirement). In contrast to these transitions, there also exist other critical life events, which are less prevalent and less predictable, and which place extreme demands on the individual for personal change and adaptation. These extraordinary experiences included intercultural transitions, particularly those associated with international migration. In recent years, the need for research attention to this type of life transition in individual development has increased, largely as a result of significant changes in immigration trends and in the ethnocultural mix of the nation's population. A multifaceted, complex, and consequential event, intercultural migration poses special challenges as a subject of scientific inquiry. At the same time, it provides a unique window for viewing processes of change and adaptation. In this paper some of these needs, challenges, and opportunities are identified and discussed in the context of varied research perspectives and constructs of change.

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