Immigration, gender, and psychosocial adjustment: A study of 150 immigrant couples in Israel

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Abstract

Research on gender differences in the process of psychosocial adjustment of recent immigrants is scant. This study was designed to assess occupational, social, and personal/psychological aspects of adjustment to life in Israel among 150 heterosexual couples that immigrated together from the former Soviet Union after 1990. The mean age of participants was 46, over 60% had postsecondary education, and have lived in Israel for the average of 9 years. The study included a structured survey and in-depth interviews with 15 couples. The results suggest that overall levels of adjustment and well-being reported by men and women are rather similar, although they take somewhat different paths toward social integration. Men were doing better in the economic/occupational domain, whereas women were more active in the social domain (e.g., building their personal networks, exploring new lifestyles). Both men and women had experienced occupational downgrading in Israel, but more women worked in physically-demanding jobs such as geriatric nursing and cleaning. Women suffered a more dramatic occupational downgrading than men, as well as lower job security and under/unemployment. Yet, they showed more flexibility and tolerance of their new work roles. No tangible gender differences have been found in the general indicators of psychosocial well-being and overall satisfaction with life in Israel. Processes of social adjustment among immigrants from the former Soviet Union may be less gendered than in other immigrant communities, reflecting more egalitarian gender relations in the Russian/Soviet culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-863
Number of pages17
JournalSex Roles
Volume53
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Immigration
  • Psychosocial adjustment

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