Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group

Mutual Intercultural Relations In Plural Societies (MIRIPS)

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This is a new cross-national project initiated by Professor John W. Berry of Canada and examines intercultural relationships (attitudes, prejudice, stereotypes) among members of a host society and immigrants.

The primary aim is to find out how immigrants desire to acculturate in their resettlement society, what the members of the host society expect from immigrants, and how the two groups interact with each other.

The project was recently initiated and we are currently working on an application for funding from the Research Council of Norway. One or two PhD students will be recruited to work on this project.

Immigrants and mental health services

Studies show that children from immigrant families may experience greater burdens related to stress, somatic illnesses, problems related to adaptation, social anxiety and depression compared to other Norwegian children. Furthermore, there is a general tendency that some groups of immigrants use health services for mental health problems to a lesser degree than other Norwegians, and that cultural perceptions of mental health and treatment of mental health problems in different ways become barriers toward referral to health services. Cultural differences influence the way mental health problems manifest themselves, and how these manifestations are interpreted. People’s perceptions of treatment of mental health problems is also closely connected to culturally varied psychiatric practices, the state of different countries’ mental health services, and contrasting political regulations.

The project, “Immigrants and mental health services, is a part of an extensive study called Ungdom, Kultur og Mestring (UNGKUL) undertaken by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and the Bergen Child Study (BCS). The aim is to investigate factors which may influence immigrant parents’ attitudes toward treatment of their children's mental health problems. This is a PhD project of Eugene Guribye financed by Helse Vest . Through qualitative methods, the study aims to approach the following research questions:

  • Which expectations do immigrant parents have about mental health services in Norway?
  • How do perceptions of – and experiences with mental health services in both country of origin and in Norway influence immigrant parents’ attitudes toward referral of their children to mental health services?
  • Which practices do the families have for consulting various sectors where mental health problems are explained and treated?
  • In what ways do relevant social and cultural contexts influence attitudes toward treatment?


Family relations and Future Aspirations in South African Families

From a cross-cultural psychological perspective, this project focuses on what characterizes South African women's and adolescents' views (values) on having children and inter-generational transmission of these values.

These are the broad questions to be addressed, and to be explored across three generations on the backdrop of social realities such as high prevalence of HIV/Aids, domestic violence and male labor migration. The data collection in the larger project was completed in 2002, and included data from 1000 people, made up of 600 mothers - half with toddlers and the other half with adolescent children, the adolescent children themselves (150 boys and 150 girls) and 100 grandmothers. In order to study the issues concerning values of children among the adolescent group in depth, an additional data collection implying photo- and diary assisted semi-structured individual interviews and focus group discussions were carried out in 2005 and in 2007.

In addition to get descriptions from the adolescents' daily life and demographic situation, such as family and educational background, questions concerning knowledge, attitudes and behavior related to reproduction and reproductive health were asked. This included issues like fertility, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), contraceptive use, abortion, teenage pregnancy and child upbringing. Also, the teenage boys' and girls' relationship with their parents or parent-figures were explored as well as their future aspirations for family life.

Posters: Changing reproductive attitudes in three generations