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Tuning in emotionally: Associations of cultural exposure with distal and proximal emotional fit in acculturating youth

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract The more immigrant minorities are exposed to the majority culture, the more their emotional pattern fits that of majority culture members—a phenomenon termed emotional acculturation. To assess emotional fit, earlier studies compared minorities’ emotional experience with that of separate samples of “distant” majority members in their country of residence. We added “proximal” fit with the emotional experience of majority members in their social environment. Drawing on large random samples of immigrant minority and majority youth in Belgian high schools (N = 2,543), our study aimed (i) to test majority culture exposure and contact as predictors of emotional fit and (ii) to distinguish emotional fit with distal and proximal variants of majority culture. Minorities’ majority culture exposure predicted both distal and proximal emotional fit. In addition, contact with majority peers better predicted proximal fit. Our findings suggest that emotional acculturation is socially grounded in interactions with proximal majority members. - European Journal of Social Psychology, EarlyView.