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Cultural attachment theory postulates that the adaptive solution of acculturation is analogous to infants’ attachment to their caretakers, whereby forming secure attachment to the native and/or host cultures can help sojourners to cope with anxiety and stress and to gain a sense of safe haven. To test this theory, we recruited 57 Indonesian students who were studying in Singapore and measured their quality of cultural attachment in two ways: (a) self-reported cultural attachment styles with the native and host culture and (b) positive affective transfer from Indonesian (native) and that from Singaporean (host) cultural icons. The participants’ self-reported cultural attachment styles and identifications with the two cultures were differentially correlated with their positive affective transfers from the two cultural icons. Importantly, the participants’ self-reported attachment styles of native and host cultures and their positive affective transfer from the Indonesian (native) cultural icons were linked to better adjustment in the host culture (as indicated by less perceived discrimination and acculturation stress, and greater subjective well-being). Implications of these findings on cross-cultural competence were discussed.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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