Salvadorian mothers and their daughters: navigating the hazards of acculturation in the Canadian context
This thesis examines acculturation processes at the level of family relations. The research addresses how Salvadorian immigrant mothers in Canada search for ways to guide their adolescent daughters through the acculturation process, how the daughters respond to their mother's guidance, the nature of the conflict that emerges in this process, and the conditions under which the conflict is increased or reduced. The findings are based on a qualitative analysis interviews with Salvadorian mothers and their daughters living in a mid-sized Ontario city. A modified grounded theory approach was employed to explore emergent acculturation themes in interviews with 16 mothers and, separately, with one of each mother's adolescent or adult daughters. The same approach was used with an additional six mother-daughter pairs who were interviewed together in order to explore in greater detail their relationship across time and changes in social-cultural context. The findings from this study reinforce and extend knowledge in the field by drawing attention to the following sources of value strain and factors that shape it. (a) "Familismo", or loyalty to family, is a key value in Salvadorian culture. It is more often maintained by both mothers and daughters during the acculturation process, while other key Salvadorian values--specifically, virginity, strict obedience to parents--are more frequently modified by both mothers and daughters to fit with Canadian norms. (b) The preceding values are slow to change as they are deeply rooted in Salvadorian culture and were reinforced for the immigrant mothers particularly by their personal development and experiences in resisting the legacy of colonialism, racism, sexism and classism in El Salvador and in their reception in Canada. (c) The value tension between mothers and daughters during acculturation across a range of values tends to be reduced when mothers have higher levels of schooling, when daughters seek to achieve higher levels of schooling, regardless of the mother's level of education, when mothers and daughters share a strong common ethnic pride, and when community supports and social networks are available to support the family. These research findings generate new questions for future research.