NISEI, SANSEI, AND YONSEI: ACCULTURATION, ETHNIC IDENTITY, AND SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING AMONG THREE GENERATIONS OF JAPANESE AMERICANS
Ishikawa, Michele Elizabeth
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of acculturation and ethnic identity on subjective well-being across three generations of Japanese Americans. Data were collected in 2012 from 175 female and male Japanese Americans, ages 18 through 90, who represented second (Nisei), third (Sansei), and fourth (Yonsei) generations, recruited from chapters of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Data were collected via an online survey hosted by Skylight Matrix, a program of Washington State University, as well as via paper and pencil survey mailed to chapters of the BCA and the JACL, and distributed in person at the annual Obon Festival at the Arizona Buddhist Temple, a member of the BCA. Each participant was administered an adapted version of the Stephenson Multigroup Acculturation Scale, the Asian Values Scale-Revised, an adapted version of the European American Values Scale for Asian Americans, the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Satisfaction With Life Scale, and the Meaning in Life Questionnaire and asked to complete a demographic information sheet. Data were analyzed using analyses of variance, multivariate analyses of variance, and hierarchical regression analyses. Based upon the findings of Kim, Atkinson, and Yang (1999), it was hypothesized that there would be no significant differences in the levels of acculturated values of Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei Japanese Americans, though differences in acculturated behaviors might exist. Furthermore, based on the work of Ohata (2002) it was expected that there would be no difference on ethnic identity between the Nisei and the Sansei, but a significant increase in the Yonsei. Finally, it was predicted that greater endorsement of Asian values and a stronger ethnic identity would positively predict subjective well-being. Results of this study supported the work of Kim, et al. with Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei generations exhibiting no significant differences in acculturated values. The work of Ohata was not supported, with no significant differences on ethnic identity detected between generations. Asian values failed to predict subjective well-being. Ethnic identity positively predicted subjective well-being.