This study examined differences in meaning making and collective and transcendent well-being among first, one-and-a-half, and second generation immigrants to the United States. Given the unique challenges, stressors, and acculturation tasks each generation faces, this study aimed to broaden the scope of current research that often disregards nuances of the immigration experience to contribute to our understanding of generational differences in well-being and meaning making processes. A trend was identified in which first and second-generation immigrants to the United States felt a greater sense of national belonging; whereas one-and-a-half generation immigrants felt less well-being associated with national context. First-generation immigrants scored higher on overall posttraumatic growth compared to second-generation immigrants and it is approaching a trend. When age was accounted for, there was a trend towards significance, where first generation and 1.5 generation immigrants scored higher on posttraumatic growth compared to second generation immigrants. Though most hypotheses were not supported, the exploration of dimensions of collective and transcendent well-being and meaning making processes among immigrants are new areas of research that had yet to be explored. This study also has potential implications for the immigrant paradox, or findings suggesting that subsequent generations of immigrants are at risk for poorer outcomes compared to their first-generation counterparts. Implications for theory and practice, methodological limitations, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Immigrants -- United States -- Psychology; Children of immigrants -- United States -- Psychology; Well-being -- Cross cultural studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly P.;