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Spirituality and Acculturation in Eastern and Western Cultures


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Spirituality and Acculturation in Eastern and Western Cultures

  1. 1. Background Spirituality and Acculturation Further, Hardy (1979) found a variety of effects resulting from spiritual experiences, with increased positive feelings towards others and The purpose of this study involved examiningthe concepts of acculturation and spirituality in in Eastern and Western Cultures other positive social effects involving only one of numerous possible outcomes.the context of collectivistic (Asian) andindividualistic (Western) cultures, specifically, Sue-Mei Slogar Although the SIBS includes items intended to assess relationships with others, participantswhether spirituality relates to cultural adaptationin the context of diametrically opposed cultures. Advised by Dr. Eric Jones were not asked to clarify the nature of their spiritual transformation or describe its socialMaslow (1970) found that in addition to providing Regent University significance. Also, while many participants whomeaning in life, spiritual experiences correlated had spiritually experiences did undergo somewith self-transcendence, a sense of connection degree of transformation, this transformation didwith others, an increase in love and acceptance, not always represent a significant change.and a decrease in selfishness. Spiritual Finally, the weak correlation betweenexperiences “often have a social content, afeeling of unity with other people, and a Method Results empathy and spirituality and the lack of correlation between empathy and acculturationdetermination to behave more kindly and Participants Scores on the SIBS and SL-ASIA were may be explained by conceptualizing empathy asaltruistically towards them” (Beit-Hallahmi & positively correlated (r(79) = .42, p < .01). A weak a multifaceted construct involving perception,Argyle, 1997, p. 97). According to Stace (1960), The sample consisted of 114 individuals of correlation between participants’ SL-ASIA scores emotional response, and behavioral responsealong with experiencing something separate from Asian heritage ranging from 15-70 years of age and degree of transformation was found (r(104) = (Liyan, 2004). Scores on the PT scalethe self, spiritual experiences also involve a (M = 40.83, SD = 14.29). Participants reported .25, p < .05). No correlation was found between demonstrated moderate and negativeunified perception of reality, or perceiving their current country of residence as Malaysia SL-ASIA scores and PT scale scores (r(87) = .06, correlations with the other scales composing theeverything in existence as parts of a larger whole. (41.2%), America (21.9%), Singapore (7.0%), p > 0.05), and total SIBS scores and PT scale IRI (the empathic concern and personal distressPrevious studies support the view that this China (4.4%), Hong Kong (2.6%), and Australia scores were weakly correlated (r(87) = .23, p < scales, respectively; Davis, 1983). Thealtered perception of reality affects psychosocial (2.6%), Asia (18.4%), and no location reported .05). The degree of transformation participants measurable differences existing between variousvariables involved with interpersonal (1.8%) Most participants (88.6%) reported their experienced as a result of a spiritual experience facets of empathy illustrate its complexity and therelationships. Dy-Liacco, Kennedy, Parker, and place of birth as Asia or a country other than the and scores on the SL-ASIA were moderately resulting challenges in assessing empathy inPiedmont (2006) found that spirituality causally United States, while 7.7% classified themselves correlated (r(89) = .32, p < .01). In addition, the relation to other variables. As empathy andpredicted emotional growth and maturity, in as either second or third generation immigrants. results indicated a moderate correlation between spirituality are complex constructs, it is likely thataddition to an interconnected and transpersonal Approximately half of the sample reported spiritual experiences (as assessed by Hardy’s spirituality is also related to other aspects ofworldview. Another study demonstrated a bilingual proficiency in English and an Asian question) and resulting transformation (r(104) = empathic development that are not adequatelysignificant correlation between peak experiences language (55.3% for speaking and 40.4% for .67, p < .01) assessed by the PT scale. The implications of theand increased social interest (Christopher, reading), while 44.7% reported bilingual language current study suggest a need to clarify theManaster, Campbell, and Weinfeld 2002; Davis, preference. practical significance of the constructs1980). Steffen and Merrill (2011) found that investigated. Future studies may result inindividuals demonstrating higher levels of recommendations to increase opportunities foracculturation also experienced higher levels of Measures cultivating spiritual development as a means ofcomfort or strength related to faith or spirituality, increasing positive cross-cultural addition to participants’ self-assessments Data were collected from April 2011 throughreflecting higher levels of spirituality. November 2011 utilizing snowball sampling. Using electronic survey software, participants Discussion completed the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity The results indicate a relationship between Acculturation Scale ((Suinn, Ahuna, & Khoo, spirituality and acculturation, and between 1992), the perspective-aking (PT) scale of the transformative spiritual experiences and References Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980), and acculturation. The results also indicate that Beit-Hallahmi, B., & Argyle, M. (1997). The psychology of religious behaviour, belief and experience. New York, NY: the 39-iitem Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Routlege. empathy is not a mediating factor in this Scale (R. L. Hatch, H. Spring, & R. L. Burg, Christopher, J. C., Manaster, G. J., Campbell, R. L., & Weinfeld, M. B. (2002). Peak experiences, social interest, and moral reasoning: An exploratory study. The Journal of Individual Psychology, relationship. 58(1), 35-51. personal communication, February 3, 2011).Hypotheses/Research Participants were also asked to respond to the The SL-ASIA’s content contains a wide Davis, M. H. (1980). A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85-103. Retrieved from variety of factors related to acculturation, following question: Have you ever been aware of, including factors indirectly related to interpersonal Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113-126. doi: or influenced by, a presence or a power--whether 10.1037/0022-3514.44.1.113 interactions between two considerably different Participants with higher levels of spirituality you call it God or not--which is different from your Dy-Liacco, G. S., Kennedy, M. C., Parker, D. F., & Piedmont, R. L. (2006). Spiritual transcendence as an unmediated causal predictor of psychological growth and worldview among Filipinos. cultures. While the SL-ASIA provided a vehicle Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 16, 261-285 would demonstrate higher levels of adaptation everyday self? Participants then rated the degree for assessing how the positive social impact of Hardy, A. C. (1979). The spiritual nature of man: A study of contemporary religious experience. New York, NY: Oxford to cultures other than their own.. of transformation resulting from this spiritual University Press. spirituality and spirituality might be related to Liyan, M. (2004). The role of empathy in intercultural communication. In K. K. Tam & T. Weiss (Eds.), English and Levels of empathy would positively correlate experience. globalization: Perspectives from Hong Kong and mainland China (pp. 193-204). Sha Tin, N. T., Hong Kong: The acculturation, the scale also measured constructs Chinese University Press. with spirituality and acculturation. that may be only tangentially related to positive Maslow, A. H. (1970). Religions, values, and peak experiences. New York, NY: Viking Press. Does empathy function as a mediating factor feelings or feelings of unity towards others. Stace, W. T. (1960). Mysticism and philosophy. Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott. Steffen, P., & Merrill, R. (2011). The association between religion and acculturation in Utah Mexican immigrants. Mental in the relationship between acculturation and Health, Religion, and Culture, 14(6), 561-573. doi:10.1080/13674676.2010.495747 spirituality? Suinn, R.M., Ahuna, C., & Khoo, G. (1992). The Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale: Concurrent and factorial validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 1041-1046. doi: 10.1177/0013164492052004028