Exploring Attachment to the “Homeland” and Its Association with Heritage Culture Identification
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Conceptualisations of attachment to one's nation of origin reflecting a symbolic caregiver can be found cross-culturally in literature, art, and language. Despite its prevalence, the relationship with one's nation has not been investigated empirically in terms of an attachment theory framework. Two studies employed an attachment theory approach to investigate the construct validity of symbolic attachment to one's nation of origin, and its association with acculturation (operationalized as heritage and mainstream culture identification). Results for Study 1 indicated a three-factor structure of nation attachment; the factors were labelled secure-preoccupied, fearful, and dismissive nation attachment. Hierarchical linear modelling was employed to control for differing cultures across participants. Secure-preoccupied nation attachment was a significant predictor of increased heritage culture identification for participants residing in their country of birth, whilst dismissive nation attachment was a significant predictor of decreased heritage culture identification for international migrants. Secure-preoccupied nation attachment was also associated with higher levels of subjective-wellbeing. Study 2 further confirmed the validity of the nation attachment construct through confirmatory factor analysis; the three-factor model adequately fit the data. Similar to the results of Study 1, secure-preoccupied nation attachment was associated with increased levels of heritage culture identification and psychological well-being. Implications of the tripartite model of nation attachment for identity and well-being will be discussed.
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