Exploring the role of critical incidents on cultural identity

Janani Raman, Tennessee State University


This study investigated critical incidents related to cultural experiences for bicultural individuals undergoing acculturation. Learning about the role of individual development and other contextual factors relevant to critical incidents may help create understanding about the impact they have on acculturation, and thus, the impact they have on bicultural individuals’ mental health. Thirteen participants completed semi-structured individual interviews about relevant critical incidents. Participants were recruited from flyers and snowball sampling. Grounded theory was used to extract themes from participants’ interviews. Themes included: positive, negative, and neutral experiences, immediate and delayed or long-lasting effects, and effects on self and effects related to others. Critical incidents often involved a change in thought impacting participants by increasing awareness/ thought, a greater notice of cultural differences, having to negotiating new behavior, and a shifting view of one’s culture and the critical incident. Individual’s age and developmental level, as well as support from others and one’s view toward one’s own cultural group also influenced the effect of the critical incident. Future directions and limitations are also discussed.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Clinical psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Janani Raman, "Exploring the role of critical incidents on cultural identity" (2015). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3723704.