Transition Challenges in Consumer Acculturation: Role Destabilization and Changes in Symbolic Consumption

Rachel Maldonado, Washington State University
Patriya Tansuhaj, Washington State University
ABSTRACT - Consumer acculturation consists of three phases: Pre-immigration, transition, and outcomes. This study investigates role adjustment and symbolic consumption during the transition phase of consumer acculturation. Rode adjustment in the transition phase includes movement into a new culture, role destabilization, changes in symbolic consumption, new roles, and role stabilization. A better understanding of the relationship between transition, role destabilization and symbolic consumption will help marketers develop more effective marketing programs and meet the needs of rapidly growing immigrant communities.
[ to cite ]:
Rachel Maldonado and Patriya Tansuhaj (1999) ,"Transition Challenges in Consumer Acculturation: Role Destabilization and Changes in Symbolic Consumption", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 26, eds. Eric J. Arnould and Linda M. Scott, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 134-140.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 26, 1999      Pages 134-140

TRANSITION CHALLENGES IN CONSUMER ACCULTURATION: ROLE DESTABILIZATION AND CHANGES IN SYMBOLIC CONSUMPTION

Rachel Maldonado, Washington State University

Patriya Tansuhaj, Washington State University

ABSTRACT -

Consumer acculturation consists of three phases: Pre-immigration, transition, and outcomes. This study investigates role adjustment and symbolic consumption during the transition phase of consumer acculturation. Rode adjustment in the transition phase includes movement into a new culture, role destabilization, changes in symbolic consumption, new roles, and role stabilization. A better understanding of the relationship between transition, role destabilization and symbolic consumption will help marketers develop more effective marketing programs and meet the needs of rapidly growing immigrant communities.

Movement of individuals between cultures is becoming more commonplace. Travel is becoming accessible to more people and political and economic alliances between nations have removed many political barriers to movement between countries. This movement of people has caused an influx of newcustomers into established domestic marketplaces and the development of new market niches. Over 800,000 people are admitted to the United States each year, creating rapidly growing immigrant markets (U.S. Department of Commerce 1996). Marketers will find it useful to understand what influences consumer behavior as immigrants adjust to their new surroundings. Much of the consumer acculturation literature to date has concentrated on the end results of acculturation and its influence on consumer behavior (e.g., Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Hui et al. 1992; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993; Kara 1996; Kim, Laroche and Joy 1990; Lee and Um 1992; O’Guinn and Faber 1985; Ownbey and Horridge 1997; Wallendorf and Reilly 1983). However, the early adjustment period during which consumers adjust to their new environment (and its effects on consumer behavior) has received little attention from marketing researchers. It is hoped that this preliminary study will help lay the ground work to fill this gap by identifying key constructs and providing theoretical explanations for their proposed relationships. The purpose of this study is to investigate how unstable roles experienced by immigrants while they adjust to a new market environment impact their buying behavior. A better understanding of this relationship will help marketers develop more effective marketing programs and meet the needs of rapidly growing immigrant communities.

CONSUMER ACCULTURATION MODEL

Consumer acculturation has been defined as the general process of movement and adaptation to the consumer cultural environment in one country by persons from another country (Pe±aloza 1994). The consumer acculturation model shown in Figure 1 begins with pre-immigration. This phase is prior to movement into a new cultural marketplace. Relevant factors in this phase include individual, psychological, social, and cultural characteristics as well as what Andreasen (1990) called cultural interpenetration (exposure of one culture to another through direct experience and/or indirectly through the media or the experiences of others). Immigration is the actual move into the new environment. The cause of immigration (voluntary vs. involuntary) is thought to have a motivational influence on the transition process and outcomes (Wallendorf and Reilly 1983).

Immigration is followed by the transition phase which may best be described as a period and/or state of liminality. Based on van Gennep’s work, Nobel and Walker (1997 p. 30) defined liminality as, "the instability, ambiguity, and suspended identity that can occur in the transition from one significant role to another." Previous roles are left behind with immigration and the newcomer is faced with many new marketplace encounters. Each new contact brings conflict and crisis as role adjustments are made. This study will focus on this phase of consumer acculturation.

The numerous role resolutions from each new marketplace encounter begin to develop a pattern of decision outcomes as the consumer moves through the transition phase. As the pattern stabilizes, and new roles are established, the individual moves into the outcome phase of the consumer acculturation process. The model offers four outcomes: Marginalization, segregation, assimilation, and integration. The outcomes are distinguished by varying levels of ethnic attitudes and behavior. While the acculturation outcomes in the model in Figure 1 are based on Berry’s (1980) acculturation model, the full model integrates the findings of several ethnicity, assimilation, and acculturation studies. It is similar to Pe±aloza’s (1994) consumer acculturation model but is designed to emphasize the three phases of pre-immigration, transition and outcome, and especially the characteristics of the transition phase. Although acculturation in general has received some attention, consumer acculturation is still in the early stages of theory development and refinement. This study is aimed at gaining a better understanding of how role change influencs consumer behavior in the transition phase of consumer acculturation.

TRANSITION PHASE: THE LIMINAL PERIOD

Liminality

Liminal describes both a period of time and a state of being. van Gennep (1960) believed that individuals going through a transition period pass through three phases. The first is the separation phase in which a person disengages from a social role or status. The second is a transition phase in which the person adapts and changes to fit new roles. This is known as the liminal period. The last is an incorporation phase in which the person integrates the self with the new role or status (Schouten 1991). These three stages are found in the transition phase of consumer acculturation. Immigration represents separation where the immigrant becomes disengaged from previous social roles and status, and encounters many new behaviors, attitudes and perceptions in the new marketplace. Each encounter requires the immigrant to evaluate and then reject, adopt, or adapt new consumer roles (transition) until a new role stabilization is reached (incorporation).

During a period of liminality, the role destabilization caused by some triggering event (such as immigration) causes a sense of instability, ambiguity, uncertainty, and an unanchored identity until the role destabilization is resolved. While in this state, individuals may engage in "identity play" or experiment with changing or altering their self-concept as they try to resolve the self-concept discrepancy associated with role destabilization (Noble and Walker 1997; Schouten 1991). The following sections discuss the relationships between role destabilization, strength of ethnic identity, self-concept discrepancy, and symbolic consumption (see Figure 2) by applying Noble and Walker’s (1997) work to the consumer acculturation context.

FIGURE 1

CONSUMER ACCULTURATION MODEL

FIGURE 2

CONSUMER ACCULTURATION TRANSITION PHASE: THE LIMINAL PERIOD

Noble and Walker’s model begins with an objective triggering event (in our case this would be immigration) and ends with the psychological benefits from reducing the discrepancy between one’s internal self-view and the external role. Our study looks at a portion of Noble and Walker’s model. We begin after immigration when the strength of ethnic identity and role restabilization are proposed to have an impact on self-concept discrepancy. We end our study with how self-concept discrepancy is reduced through symbolic consumption. Our model expands on Noble and Walker’s model by taking into consideration the impact the strength of ethnic identity might have on self-concept discrepancy and by including self-concept discrepancy as a mediator between role destabilization and symbolic consumption.

Role Destabilization

The liminality of the transition phase means that immigrants have left behind their familiar world, but have not yet established themselves in the new marketplace. According to van Gennep (1960 p. 18), whoever passes from one "zone" to the other "finds himself physically and magico-religiously in a special situation for a certain length of time: he wavers between two worlds." When immigrants move into a new consumer culture they leave behind familiar roles and must adapt to new ones. This unsettling experience is designated as role destabilization as shown in Figure 2.

Role enactment is actual performance of the role and is the result of role expectations, location, ambiguity, and self-role congruence (Schewe and Balazs 1992). Role destabilization occurs when the above factors are altered. Each of the above factors are affected by consumer acculturation. Acculturating consumers often find that they must perform new roles or carry out their old roles in very different ways. They may find that some of their role titles (such as father, mother, spouse etc.) are maintained but with far different expectations as tohow that role should be performed. Their own expectations for the role may change as well as the expectations of those around them. Consumers in a new marketplace are faced with a new social structure. Finding appropriate roles and their place in this new structure can be a stressful experience. The changes immigrants experience in role expectations and location often create role ambiguity when the expectations and demands of the roles are not clear to the acculturating individual. Immigrants may also find an increase in self-role incongruence when demands of the role are inconsistent with the character of the individual trying to perform the role. Anxiety and conflict are also created when individuals are forced into social situations where they must choose among alternative, multiple role obligations.

Since roles are learned according to Schewe and Balazs, role destabilization means that newcomers to the marketplace must learn new roles. Just as children learn from imitating adults, older immigrants must seek out external informational cues to determine socially acceptable ways of performing their roles. One source of information is how marketers depict roles with their products and in their promotions. If marketers understand the range of roles that accompany moving into a new marketplace and portray them in an accurate and positive manner they have a great opportunity to shape the role enactment (Schewe and Balazs 1992), and the choice of products that go along with that enactment.

Ethnic Identity

Levy-Warren (1987) noted that cultural relocation tugs at the very roots of identity and that such a move may require a reorganization of identity. Ethnic identity is identification with a group which is distinguished by color, language, religion, or some other attribute of common origin. Such an identity is believed to be adaptive and based on affiliations to the past as well as on adjustment to present circumstances (c.f. Costa and Bamossy 1995). Thus, ethnic identity may take on new relevance and new terms in the new cultural environment. There may be disparity between how the individual self-identifies and how society identifies the individual. The new relevancy and differences in ethnic identity may lead an individual to become more strongly allied with their ethnic heritage or to place less importance on that aspect of their self-concept. A strong ethnic self-identity may reduce self-concept discrepancy and the need for changes in symbolic consumption as stated in the following hypothesis.

H1:  A strong ethnic identity reduces self-concept discrepancy and the desire for physical alterations and positively influences the desire for possessions representing the culture of immigration.

Self-Concept Discrepancy

Hill and Stamey (1990) pointed out that one’s sense of self is embedded in the interactions and roles played within a society. It follows, then that as roles become destabilized, self-concept will become challenged as well. The above authors define self-concept as, "an organized structure of various identities and attributes and their evaluations, which are derived from an individual’s reflexive, social, and symbolic activities (Hill and Stamey 1990 p. 317)." This definition shows self-concept to have both identity and evaluative components (i.e. self-esteem).The identity component is thought to contain an actual self, ideal self, and social self (Sirgy 1982).

The above discussion ties self-concept and one’s related identity to social systems. Noble and Walker (1997) pointed out that during a liminal period, the individual is separated from prior relationships and roles and new ones are not yet etablished. This leaves the individual unsure of the operating social system and therefore ambiguous about his or her self-concept and identity. The ideal self is also apt to change with a change in roles. Changes in the ideal self coupled with uncertainty of self-concept in the new role may be associated with a greater discrepancy between the actual and ideal selves. Further, acculturating consumers may try to lessen self-concept discrepancy through symbolic consumption. This may result in symbolic (versus functional) consumption such as changes in physical appearance and valued possessions.

The mediating role of self-concept discrepancy between role destabilization and symbolic consumption is further supported by the identity theory (Stryker 1980). According to this theory, individuals hold in memory a set of meanings defining who one is in a role. This set of meanings then serves as a standard or reference against which to compare one’s self-concept perceptions. When discrepancies are perceived between the standard and the actual self, behavior is used to bring the perceived self-concept back into line with the standard. If self-discrepancy is not observed, behavior is used to maintain one’s perceived match between the actual and standard self-concepts (Burke and Stets 1998). This relationship is stated as the following hypothesis:

H2:  Self-concept discrepancy mediates the relationship between ethnic identity/role destabilization and symbolic consumption.

The identity theory also provides an explanation for why a strong ethnic identity may reduce self-concept discrepancy in role destabilization. According to Serpe and Stryker (1987), the identity theory posits that relocating in a new physical environment (such as a move to a new country) strongly affects one’s social relationships and results in a destabilization of self. However, when a person has a strong commitment to a previous role identity, one will strive to become part of social relationships that represent cognitively central aspects of their lives in the prior location. Commitment then, stabilizes the self by broadening the base of social activities that support and maintain the self. The strength of ethnic identity is used in this study to represent commitment to one’s ethnic group. A strong ethnic identity would then reduce the likelihood of self-concept discrepancy, providing further support for H1.

Symbolic Consumption Through Physical Alterations

Andreasen (1994) stated that change in life status has an associated change in consumption patterns. As noted earlier, changes in roles and position in the social structure impact a consumer’s self-concept and may therefore influence symbolic consumption. An important component of self-concept is body image, and the body and its adornment may be particularly self-relevant as symbols of specific role identities (Schouten 1991). Schouten also noted that the less secure people feel in their roles or status, the more likely they are to use stereotypical symbols of role competency to reinforce their perceptions of their own adequacy in role performance. He found that changes in appearance are symbolically important in coping with certain role transitions and that people historically have undergone extreme discomfort, pain and risk in order to conform to culturally prescribed standards of beauty. Role destabilization may lead to self-concept discrepancy and influence newcomers to seek the symbolic consumption of physical alterations to aid them in adjusting to their new roles and reduce self-concept discrepancy . Accordingly, another hypothesis may be stated as:

H3:  Self-concept discrepancy positively influences symbolic consumption through physical alterations.

Symbolic Consumption and The Meaningand Importance of Possessions

Role destabilization resulting in self-concept discrepancy may also influence symbolic consumption through the meaning and importance of possessions. Possessions have been tied to the identity component of the self-concept and fulfill different functions at various points in our lives (Belk 1988). Further, Mehta and Belk (1991) observed that during geographic movement away from the people, places and things of previous homes, cities, and nations, an increased burden is placed on individual possessions for anchoring identity. They also found that familiar possessions brought from home may be depended upon to prevent total identity alienation in the unfamiliar environment. It has also been proposed that when social or support networks are lost in immigration, possessions may be used to fill the void (Noble and Walker 1997). Wallendorf and Arnould (1988) noted that rather than replacing networks and interpersonal relationships, favorite possessions become symbols of the past relationships and serve to solidify and represent both one’s connections to and differences from others. The next hypothesis states the above relationship.

H4:  Self-concept discrepancy positively influences the value one places on possessions symbolizing past relationships.

Mehta and Belk (1991) and Noble and Walker (1997) showed how possessions can also be used to ease the way into new roles and their associated identities thereby facilitating the psychological transformation to the new state. This leads to the following hypothesis:

H5:  Self-concept discrepancy positively influences the value one places on possessions symbolizing new roles.

METHOD

Sample

The study sample consists of forty-eight English as a Second Language (ESL) students in northeastern Washington. The decision to sample ESL classes placed two major limitations on the study. The first limitation is that the sampling plan limits participants to those individuals who are making an effort to learn the host culture’s language. It is assumed, however, that these individuals will experience greater role destabilization, self-concept discrepancy, and changes in symbolic consumption than those who are not making this effort.

A second limitation affecting the study is that many individuals in the transition phase have limited command of the English language. While the individuals may have a much more sophisticated understanding of the concepts and questions involved, their ability to understand the questions and answer appropriately will likely be limited by their level of English mastery. The wide number of languages spoken by the students prohibits survey translation into respondents’ languages of choice.

Variables

The variables to be investigated in this study are strength of ethnic identity, role destabilization, self-concept discrepancy, physical alterations, and the value of possessions.

Strength of Ethnic Identity. Ethnic identity is the ethnic group with which the immigrant is associated. Self-identification is the most preferred method. Hirschman (1981) recommended asking respondents to choose which ethnic or racial group they identify with from a predetermined list. Due to the great variety of responses expected from the sample frame proposed below, a few example terms were given for clarity and then the respondents were instructed to write in their on ethnic term. The survey first asked for the ethnic term they used to describe themselves, then the ethnic term outsiders used to describe them, and finally their preference of ethnic terms (how they would like to be identified). Strength of ethnic identity was determined by asking respondents to indicate how strongly they identified with the group indicated in the first question. A six point scale ranging from not much (1) to very strongly (6) was used.

Role Destabilization. Role destabilization was operationalized by changes in role enactment, role expectations (both self and others’), role importance, role valence, and the amount of time spent performing the role. Respondents were asked to first identify a relevant role in their lives (such as spouse, parent, wage earner, shopper etc.) and then to evaluate the extent (on a scale of 1- not changed to 6Bchanged a lot) of change in the above areas for this role. This was followed by two general questions regarding the overall change of roles in their lives and the extent of change overall in roles that have changed.

Self-concept Discrepancy. The self-concept scale developed by Malhotra (1981) was adapted to measure self-concept discrepancy. The 15 item scale was included twice. Respondents were instructed to respond to one of the scales as they actually describe them selves and to the other as they would like to be described. Discrepancy was measured by noting the numerical difference between evaluations of each factor on the two scales.

Physical Alterations. Respondents were asked to what extent they had been involved in various forms of physical alterations since moving to the United States. Physical alterations have been shown to fall into the categories of body alterations, style, and adornments. Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they had considered or engaged in physical changes in hair style and color, eye color, clothing style, facial hair, facial features, jewelry style and or body shape, tattooing or piercing (Noble and Walker 1997). Scale item points ranged from 1 ("No, I haven’t even considered it") to 7 ("Yes, I have done it").

Possessions. Valued possessions was operationalized as the meaning or value of possessions representing respondents’ new lives versus those possessions representing their lives before moving to the United States. They were also asked if they would prefer to purchase more "American" things or more things that reminded them of their country of emigration.

Pretest Procedures

The self-administered questionnaire was first tested on an individual from an ethnic community for clarity and simplicity. A few words such as "meaningful" were changed to make the questions simpler. The survey was then tested on eight recent immigrants. This testing resulted in labeling each scale point of the physical alteration section (rather than only labeling end points) and eliminating the reversing of some of the scales. The revised survey was then reviewed by the ESL instructor who approved it and agreed to administer it to her students.

FINDINGS

An analysis of the data shows some interesting results. There was great heterogeneity in the demographics of the respondents. This is shown by the large number of dummy codes needed for country of origin (19 dummy codes needed for 48 respondents) and ethnicity (22 dummy codes) data entry. Ages ranged from 22 to 71 years.

Role Destabilization

The pilot study data showed that overall, since moving to the US, most of the roles in the respondent’s lives had changed, and that the roles that had changed had changed a lot. When asked if most of the roles in their lives had not changed (1) or changed (6), the modewas 6 (changed) and the mean was 4.5. The response to the degree of change in roles that had changed showed similar results. On a scale of 1 (Not changed much) to 6 (Changed a lot) the mode was again 6 with a mean of 4.3.

The individual factors contributing to role destabilization also showed a high level of change. The way the respondents performed the chosen role, the way others expected them to perform the role, the way they wanted to do the role and the amount of time spent and importance placed on performing the role all had a mode of 6 (on a scale of 1=not changed to 6=changed a lot). Only the importance others placed on the role and whether the respondent viewed the role as good or bad did not change. These showed modes of 1 (not changed) with means of 3.1 and 2.7 respectively.

Self-Concept Discrepancy

The self-concept discrepancy section of the data was very disappointing. Only eighteen people answered this portion of the survey, and several of their responses were incomplete. The respondents were asked to evaluate how close (on a scale of 1 to 7) they were to one scale end point or the other. The end points were bipolar adjectives of the self-concept factors identified by Malhotra (1981). Discrepancy would have been determined by subtracting actual measurement from the ideal measurement for each scale item, however the low response to this section precluded its inclusion in the analysis.

There are several possible explanations for the low response to the self-concept discrepancy section of the survey. It is very probable that the respondents did not understand the scale endpoints (bipolar adjectives). The instructors reported that the 15 items presented quite a challenge to limited English speakers and that translation or explanation of the adjectives was difficult. Another possible explanation may be that the scale is based on an individualistic perspective of self-concept. Individuals immigrating from collectivistic societies may not find the bipolar adjectives relevant to their self-concept. Further scale development integrating both individualistic and collectivistic aspects of self-concept may be needed before the relationships between role destabilization, self-concept discrepancy and symbolic consumption can be determined.

Physical Alterations

The physical alteration questions did not show a lot of change. On a scale from 1 (No, I haven’t even considered it) to 7 (Yes, I have done it) the mode was 1 and 71% of the responses were less than 3 (I have thought about it a lot). However, a regression analysis of the impact of role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity on physical alterations showed that these variables had a significant impact on physical alterations (F= 27.12) and that combined they explained 71% of the sample variance. As predicted, the stronger the ethnic identity, the less likely individuals were to make physical alterations (t=-6.12, p=.000). It is interesting to note that role destabilization was positively correlated to physical alterations but not significant. The interaction between role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity however, was both positive and significant (t=8.82, significant at .000). This indicates that role destabilization alone is not enough to significantly influence physical alteration choices, but that it has a strong interaction effect with ethnic identity and can not be excluded from the picture.

The Value of Possessions

Regressing role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity on the value one places on possessions had some interesting results as well. The regression showed that role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity had a significant impact on the value of possessions symbolizing new roles (p=.005). Contrary to the prediction that a stronger ethnic identity would result in a lower value of US possessions, the regression analyis showed a significant, positive association (t=3.247, p=.003). This means that the stronger the ethnic identification in the sample, the more US possessions are valued. Perhaps a strong ethnic identification provides the needed psychological support to pursue possessions which will smooth transition into the new culture. Neither role destabilization nor the interaction were significant in this regression.

The regression showed that role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity did not have a significant influence on the value one places on possessions symbolizing past relationships. While neither the variables nor the interaction reached significance, the strongest influence was again strength of ethnic identity, with a predicted positive association (the stronger the ethnic identification, the greater the value of ethnic possessions). The influence of role destabilization was opposite of the expected direction, indicating that the greater the role destabilization the less the respondents tended to value possessions symbolizing past relationships. This however, is consistent with the overall significant findings reported above which showed a positive but nonsignificant association between role destabilization and the value of possessions symbolizing new roles.

MANAGERIAL AND THEORETICAL CONTRIBUTIONS

The findings show that role destabilization does have some impact on immigrant experience when moving into a new marketplace and that it should not be removed from the model. Role destabilization creates the break from the old role and allows the individual to assume a new role. Initially, acculturating consumers are confronted with a barrage of new encounters in the marketplace requiring role adjustment . Examples may range from being a novice in dealing with a new currency (Pe±aloza 1994) to learning to do unskilled labor because professional degrees and certificates did not transfer and learning to use new products or familiar products in new ways (Maldonado and Tansuhaj 1998). This may open the door for marketers to attempt to influence the how the new roles are created and the associated symbolic consumption. Eventually, the cyclical progression of role adjustment will become less severe (Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993) and stressful as the newcomer becomes accustomed to consumer behavior and roles in the new marketplace. Over time, fewer encounters requiring role resolution, greater experience in making the adjustment, and habitual responses will lead the individual to a stage of role stabilization. Future studies may show that symbolic consumption adopted in the transition stage may become part of an established consumer behavior pattern in the outcome stage. This loyalty or propensity to continue established patterns may give marketers who were able to meet the needs of immigrants in the transition stage a competitive advantage in the rapidly growing ethnic markets.

Studying role destabilization and its influence on symbolic consumption will provide a benefit to marketers. Marketing managers must know the needs and desires of their target markets in order to develop effective marketing plans. Measuring strength of ethnic identity would be helpful in determining if advertisements should favor reminders of the uniqueness of ethnic identity or emphasize the desire to "Americanize." The symbolic consumption questions related to physical alteration and possession functions would also be helpful to marketers in making this judgment. If the findings of significant role change are supported by a larger sample, it would mean that marketers might have the opportunity to influence role expectations and performance in the transition phase. The products used in new roles may give successful marketers the opportunity to develop a "first mover" advantage in product familiarity and favorability during this phase of adjustment. A favorable company or brand image in one area of the immigrant’s symbolic consumption may lead to extendig this favorability to other products offered by the same company or brand name. Marketers can no longer afford to ignore the growing ethnic markets and may find it advantageous to build a strong loyalty base during the transition phase. To do this, they must have a good understanding of the roles that are played during this phase, the role destabilization experienced by customers in this phase and the impact this has on symbolic consumption.

Future research should examine how self-concept variables differ cross-culturally and how best to capture discrepancies between actual and ideal self-concepts in cross-cultural studies. This would allow an investigation of the influence role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity have on self-concept discrepancy, and in turn, how self-concept discrepancy influences symbolic consumption in consumer acculturation.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Immigration into a new consumer environment is shown here to result in role destabilization as old roles are left behind and new roles are encountered. This destabilization in the transition phase #makes room’ for new roles. It may also strongly impact the immigrant’s self-concept and influence symbolic consumption. The effects of role destabilization and strength of ethnic identity on symbolic consumption may be seen in physical alteration efforts and the symbolic value and importance of possessions. Such an understanding is significant to marketers as they develop their marketing plans for immigrant segments.

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