Following the term’s common use in the fields of acculturation and cross-cultural psychology

Following the term’s common use in the fields of acculturation and cross-cultural psychology
(e.g., Berry, 1997), adaptation refers to changes that take place in individuals or groups in
response to environmental demands.9 Adaptation, in other words, includes both short- and
long-term changes resulting from acculturation, which may take both positive and negative
forms (Berry, 1997). Although adaptation is sometimes depicted as a unidimensional, single
phenomenon, the experience of migrants is often more complex and involves different areas
of life. It is, therefore, fruitful to distinguish between different types of adaptation and their
In acculturation literature, a common distinction is made between psychological and
socio-cultural adaptation (Berry, 1997; Ward ; Kennedy, 1993a). In their influential ABC
model of adaptation, Ward and her colleagues (Ward, 2001; Ward et al., 2001) add a third
dimension by distinguishing between affective, behavioural and cognitive components of
adaptation. Drawing mainly on the stress and coping framework, the ABC model equates
affective component (A) with psychological adaptation. Psychological adaptation refers to
psychological and emotional well-being and satisfaction, and is often measured by asking
people to evaluate their general mood, life satisfaction and physical health. Successful
emotional adaptation is seen as a result of successful coping with the acculturative stress that
stems from the loss of one’s habitual environment (including mother tongue and social
networks) and the difficulties in adjusting to the receiving country (e.g., Masgoret & Ward,
2006). Behavioural adaptation (B) refers to socio-cultural adaptation (or acculturative
learning; cf. Rudmin, 2009) and it is based on the culture learning approach. This approach
emphasizes the processes involved in acquiring the specific social skills needed to “fit in” or
accomplish effective interactions in the new cultural context (Ward, 2001; see also,
Masgoret, 2006; Swagler & Jome, 2005; Ward & Kennedy, 1999). Socio-cultural adaptation
is assessed mostly through self-ratings of how well the individual manages his or her life in
the new environment. Finally, the cognitive (C) component can have, according to Masgoret
and Ward (2006), indicators such as identity, attitudes and values.