Objectives: Using a threat- benefit theory (Tartakovsky & Walsh, 2016b, 2019; Walsh, Tartakovsky, & Shifter-David, 2018), we aimed to examine a new theoretical model in which the psychological well-being of immigrants is associated with the appraisal of their own immigrant group as bringing benefits (and not just threats) to the receiving society. The model suggests that group self-appraisal is related to psychological well-being, both directly and indirectly, through levels of social contact with the majority population and fellow immigrants. Method: The survey was conducted in a representative sample of 400 adult first-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in Israel. The participants completed anonymous questionnaires examining the threat and benefit appraisal of their own immigrant group, levels of positive and negative contact with the majority population and fellow immigrants, perceived ethnic density (a subjective assessment of the proportion of FSU immigrants in one's neighborhood and at work), and psychological well-being. Structural equation modeling was used to test the theoretical model. Results: Threat and benefit appraisal predicted psychological well-being both directly and indirectly, through levels of positive and negative social contact with the majority population and FSU immigrants. Perceived ethnic density predicted the psychological well-being of immigrants indirectly, through levels of positive and negative contact with the majority population and fellow immigrants. Conclusions: The study results corroborate a new theoretical model in which immigrants' self-appraisal of their group as both benefitting and threatening the receiving society can predict the immigrants' psychological well-being. This finding highlights the human need to feel that one's in-group is contributing to the society for the person's psychological well-being.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.
- Perceived ethnic density
- Positive and negative social contacts
- Psychological well-being
- Threat- benefit appraisal