Incorporating Immigrants: Integrating Theoretical Frameworks of Adaptation
The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Objectives. To encourage research on immigrants and aging by analyzing theoretical commonalities in the two fields and identifying potential contributions of aging theories, specifically to the understanding of neglected age differences in the pace of immigrant incorporation. Methods. Survey of the historical development of assimilation theory and its successors and systematic comparison of key concepts in aging and immigrant incorporation theories. Results. Studies of immigrants, as well as of
... ants, as well as of the life course, trace their origins to the Chicago School at the turn of the 20th century. Today, both theoretical perspectives emphasize adaptation as a time-dependent, multidimensional, nonlinear, and multidirectional process. Immigrant incorporation theories have not fully engaged with a key concern of aging theory-why there are age differences. Insights from cognitive aging and developmental biology, life-span developmental psychology, and age stratification and the life course suggest explanations for age differences in the speed of immigrant incorporation. Discussion. Theories of adaptation to aging and theories of immigrant incorporation developed so independently that they neglected the subject they have in common, namely, older immigrants. Because they address similar conceptual problems and share key assumptions, a productive dialogue between two vibrant fields is long overdue.