Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Immigration is a life-altering experience that significantly contributes a context for identity formation, a critical and salient task during the years of late adolescence and emerging adulthood. Religion as a influential factor in the lives of youth has often been overlooked and considering the transnational quality of Christianity, it may have an important role to play in the acculturation and identity development of immigrant youth.
In this qualitative study, I chose to interview Chinese immigrant youth aged 18-23, who are recent immigrants and self-identify as Christian. The central idea of this exploratory inquiry is that each individual interprets experiences of acculturation and identity formation differently and converts them into personally meaningful stories. Using the narrative method, I illustrated the impact of Christianity on the lives of Chinese immigrant youth, their acculturation process, and their identity formation.
There were three particularly salient aspects of identity in their stories: ideology, occupation, and the negotiation of their bicultural identity. Participants’ self-reflection and integration of Christian values and beliefs were vastly different depending on whether they were raised as a Christian from birth or if they had converted at an older age. Youth also spoke concretely about identity formation as their purpose in life, in which future goals need to align with Christian values. Lastly, the majority of youth strongly identified with their Chinese ethnic identity rather man being Canadian or any combination of Chinese-Canadian. Being Canadian was viewed as adopting Western characteristics and forfeiting their Chinese heritage. There is a reciprocal interplay between Christian faith and these three aspects of identity that were evident in the stories.
Liao, Lynn Chyi-Ing, "The Role of Christian Faith in the Acculturation and Identity Development of Chinese Immigrant Youth" (2007). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 869.