Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Science


Matthew Mulvaney


Acculturation;Conservatism;Honor;Immigrants;Religion;Sexuality attitudes


The purpose of this research was to understand the complex relationships between acculturation strategies and attitudes towards sexuality (particularly the specific Turkish-related concept of “namus”) in the Turkish acculturating community. Studies exploring the acculturation process of other immigrant groups in the U.S. have revealed a generally liberalizing impact of different acculturation processes on gender role and sexuality attitudes of immigrants. However, there has been very little work specifically focusing on the Turkish immigrant community, particularly in the American context. Turkey is one of the countries known to have a culture of honor, where family honor (namus) is tied to a woman’s chastity, which has significant implications for women’s well-being in the Turkish context. The current study explored acculturation in an immigrant Turkish community in the U.S. and investigated how their acculturation strategies relate to their religiosity, honor and sexuality attitudes, sexism, and conservatism from the scope of Berry’s framework (1997, 2005). Data was collected from an acculturating Turkish community living in a mid-sized city through snowball sampling, resulting in 87 participants who completed the questionnaires. The findings from factor analysis revealed that namus emerged as a component of more broad sexuality attitudes. Regression analyses demonstrated that these broader attitudes were predicted by acculturation strategies and religiosity of the participants. Specifically, immigrants who endorsed integration acculturation strategy more held more liberal sexuality and namus attitudes, while immigrants who endorsed separation strategy more held more conservative sexuality and namus attitudes. Most importantly, the association of a higher degree of separation with conservative sexuality attitudes was mediated via the participants’ strong religious adherence. The present study demonstrates the complex mechanisms through which religiosity plays a role in the maintenance of conservative sexuality attitudes. Consequently, this study has important implications for intervention at the individual and societal levels, regarding healthy adaptation of immigrants and eradication of namus- and sexuality-related oppression of immigrant women across cultures.


Open Access