Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children

Lissette M. Piedra, David W. Engstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The life model offers social workers a promising framework to use in assisting immigrant families. However, the complexities of adaptation to a new country may make it difficult for social workers to operate from a purely ecological approach. The authors use segmented assimilation theory to better account for the specificities of the immigrant experience.They argue that by adding concepts from segmented assimilation theory to the life model, social workers can better understand the environmental stressors that increase the vulnerabilities of immigrants to the potentially harsh experience of adapting to a new country. With these concepts, social workers who work with immigrant families will be better positioned to achieve their central goal: enhancing person and environment fit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalSocial work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009



  • Acculturation
  • Assimilation
  • Immigrants
  • Life model
  • Second generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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