Social Network Sites and Sojourner Acculturation – New Open Access Publication

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Social network sites and acculturation of international sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support
Joep Hofhuis, Katja Hanke, & Tessa Rutten.

Abstract:
Acculturation of short-term international sojourners, such as expats and international students, has received considerable attention from scholars in the past decades. Acculturation is commonly defined as the interplay between cultural maintenance, the sojourner’s desire to maintain their home culture identity, and host country participation, their desire to initiate contact with members of the host society. The present paper focuses on the role that Social Network Sites (SNS) play in the acculturation process of this group. Through a survey, we examined how 126 short-term sojourners in the Netherlands use SNS to interact with relations in both home and host country, and how this affects their cultural maintenance and host country participation. Furthermore, we examined psychological alienation and online social support as possible mediators. Our results show that on the one hand SNS contact with home country relations is positively related to online social support. On the other hand, it is also related to psychological alienation, which in turn is related to cultural maintenance. This shows that sojourners who keep in touch with friends and family at home also experience more loneliness and homesickness, and place more emphasis on their own cultural heritage. Finally, we found that SNS contact with host country relations predicts host country participation. Through online activities, sojourners are able to foster social interaction and strengthen friendships with locals.

Reference:
Hofhuis, J., Hanke, K., & Rutten, T. (2019). Social Networking Sites and acculturation of short-term sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 69 (120-130). doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2019.02.002

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