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Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2001, pp.


Toward a Concept of a Migrant Personality

Bonka S. Boneva* and Irene Hanson Frieze
University of Pittsburgh

In this article we argue that individuals who want to emigrate possess a syndrome
of personality characteristics that differentiates them from those who want to stay
in their country of origin. Based on our own research, as well as other research
findings, we show that those who want to resettle in another country tend to be
more work-oriented and to have higher achievement and power motivation, but
lower affiliation motivation and family centrality, than those who do not want to
leave their country of origin. This migrant personality syndrome is seen as only
one of the variety of factors that determine migratory behavior. We further discuss
some of the possible implications of our findings for the receiving and the sending
countries and possible psychological interventions that can ease the acculturation
of immigrants.
A satisfactory theoretical and methodological account of international migration should consider the motivations, goals, values, and aspirations of individuals
who decide to resettle in another country (Gans, 1999; Massey, 1999). Is there a set
of motives, values, and traits that characterize the personalities of people who emigrate? In this article, we argue that desire to emigrate is associated with a specific
set of personality characteristics that differentiates people who want to emigrate
from people who want to stay in their country of origin. We propose a model of the
personality factors that predict desire to emigrate. Further, we discuss our previous
findings that, indeed, across six cultures, desire to emigrate, compared to desire to
stay, was associated with significantly higher achievement, power motivation, and
work centrality and lower family centrality.
Research on international migration has consistently shown that economic
factors play an important role in the process: People tend to emigrate from less to
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Bonka Boneva, Department of
Psychology, 405 Langley Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 [email:]. The authors gratefully
acknowledge the support of the Russian and East-European Center at the University of Pittsburgh that
helped make this research possible.
2001 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


Boneva and Frieze

more economically advanced countries (e.g., Rumbaut, 1994). There is a consensus among immigration researchers that migration occurs between demand-pull
factors that draw migrants into industrial countries, supply-push factors that push
them out of their own countries, and networks of friends and relatives already in
industrial societies who serve as anchor communities for newcomers (Martin,
1993, p. 4).
Yet not all people in economically disadvantaged countries want to leave for
countries with better economic conditions. In fact, research indicates that those
who want to emigrate are not necessarily among the poorest in their country of
origin. For example, in a study of potential emigration from Bulgaria, a formerly
socialist East European country, those who wanted to emigrate had significantly
higher income and were more often owners of an apartment or a house than those
who wanted to stay (Domozetov & Yossifov, 1991). Similarly, Jamaican lower
class students were found less likely to want to leave their country of origin than
middle and upper class students (Tidrick, 1971). In a cross-cultural study of desires
to emigrate, Frieze and colleagues (2000) found no clear relationship between
emigration desires and the overall economic conditions within a particular country.
Some countries, like Russia and Croatia, for example, that were not doing economically well had in fact lower rates of emigration desires than other countries, like
the Czech Republic and Slovenia, that were economically doing much better.
In other words, there is some evidence that economic and other environmental
factors cannot fully account for the desire to emigrate. Take, for example, emigration and immigration policies (see Dovidio & Esses, this issue). Even under the
most restrictive emigration policies, some individuals take high risks and leave,
whereas others stay even under open door emigration policies and unfavorable
economic conditions (Boneva, 1991). Another major factor discussed in international migration research is the network of relatives and friends who have previously emigrated in the receiving country. Such ties, connecting potential migrants
to those who have already emigrated, are transformed into a resource that makes
resettlement in the new region more possible (Massey, 1999). A social network in
the country of destination triggers migratory behavior, however, only for someone
who already wants to emigrate (see, e.g., Light, Bhachu, & Karageorgis, 1993).
We argue here that unfavorable economies in country of origin, emigration
and immigration policies, network support in the receiving country, and other
environmental factors create the conditions for wanting to leave, but desires to do
so are based in the personality of those who make the choice. Thus, under the same
environmental conditions, some individuals choose to leave whereas others choose
to stay. In order to better understand immigrants, it is necessary to study who
chooses to leave and why. Sociologists and demographers have looked at general
groups of emigrants and the conditions that make people want to leave, whereas the
psychological predictors of choice to leave have been much less studied (Rogler,

The Migrant Personality


We propose here a model of personality characteristics that contribute to

desires to emigrate or stay. We argue that a certain personality syndrome leads to
desires to leave ones country of origin. Based on our own research, as well as other
research findings, we show that those who want to resettle in another country tend
to be more work-oriented and to have higher achievement and power motivation,
but lower affiliation motivation and family centrality, than those who do not want
to leave their country of origin. This personality pattern, together with other
psychological factors, interacts with environmental factors and opportunities to
produce actual migratory behavior (see Figure 1).This model further suggests that
individuals who actually move to another country may do so for a variety of reasons, and thus we would not expect that all immigrants have similar personalities.
We do argue, however, that a certain pattern of personality characteristics will be
predictive of higher levels of desire to emigrate.

Fig. 1. The role of personality in desires to emigrate.


Boneva and Frieze

Origins of the Concept of the Migrant Personality

The idea that certain people are predisposed to migratory behavior emerged in
the late 1960s and 1970s. Jennings (1970), for example, introduced the term
mobicentric man to describe the behavior of individuals who value motion and
action very highly and who are constantly on the move. Later, Morrison and
Wheeler (1976) used the term pioneering personality to describe individuals
who appear to like to relocate geographically. Morrison and Wheeler claimed that,
in the decision to emigrate, the need for novelty per se may play as decisive a role as
the perceived economic opportunity in the destination country. These two concepts
of a migrant personality, however, were not empirically tested.
More recent research indirectly supports empirically the idea that some individuals are predisposed to migrate. For example, individuals who have once
migrated have been found to be more willing to migrate again, as compared to
those who have never migrated (e.g., Kupiszewski, 1996; Neuman & Tienda,
1994; Sakkeus, 1994). This, again, would suggest that emigrants are not just
responding to a particular set of economic conditions and that there is something
specific about the personality of those who desire to move.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a few studies emphasized the role that personality dispositions, in addition to situational factors, play in choice to relocate geographically. Touraine and Ragazzi (1961), for example, found that migration is a result
not only of circumstances favoring migration, but also of a specific personality
disposition that the authors identified as an impelling desire for upward mobility.
Next, Taylor (1969) described three major types of migrants. According to the
author, resultant migrants are those who are pressured by the situation to move;
they seize a single predominating opportunity to leave, without much considering
it in advance. Taylor (1969) defined dislocated migrants as those who choose to
migrate because of dislocation from their primary group; for example, they join
their husbands or wives, who have already emigrated to another region. But the
most typical, Taylor claimed, are the aspirers: individuals who migrate because
of overall dissatisfaction with how they have been doing. They move, Taylor
(1969) wrote, because they aspire to doing better for themselves and their children.
Taylors results, however, were based on internal migration, with a small sample
from a rural British community. But in a later study of international migration with
a larger sample, Richardson (1974) similarly concluded that emigration was basically a function of dissatisfaction in attaining goals. These findings suggest that
only in some individuals does lack of opportunities trigger dissatisfaction and a
desire to relocate geographically in search of better opportunities.
A few studies have directly linked dispositional motives to migratory behavior. In an in-depth study of Navajo Indians, Kolp (1965) found high achievement
motivation to be associated with a tendency to travel in constant search of more
challenging goals, which he termed restlessness. Using McClellands (1961)

The Migrant Personality


work showing a correlation between achievement motivation of the population and

the economic development of a country, Matter (1977) found that during a period
of economic stability or decline, mean achievement motivation scores were lower
for those remaining in the community than for those who left. Graduates with high
achievement motivation, the author concluded, tend to remain in the community as
long as the community is achieving" but tend to depart when it is declining
(Matter, 1977, p. 171).
Other studies of international migration show that immigrants, at least from
certain countries, exhibit high achievement motivation. For example, high
achievement motivation was found among Japanese immigrants (Caudill &
DeVos, 1956). DeVos and his colleagues have done extensive research on the
achievement motivation of Asian immigrants (see, e.g., Caudill & DeVos, 1956;
DeVos, 1973, 1983). Korean immigrants have been found to quickly adapt to
American life, a fact attributed to their high achievement motivation (DeVos,
1983). Korean immigrants, DeVos (1983) argued, who have left their country of
origin to seek better economic and social opportunities in the United States
have brought with them a very strong internalized need for achievement and
accomplishment (p. 68). However, DeVos (1983) did not compare achievement
motivation scores of Korean immigrants to a comparable group of Koreans who
did not leave in order to determine whether the two groups differ on achievement
In their research on the achievement motivation of Latino immigrants,
C. Suarez-Orozco and M. Suarez-Orozco (1995) compared achievement scores of
Mexican youth in Mexico and Mexican immigrant youth to the United States, but
they found no significant difference on achievement motivation between the two
groups. The detailed analysis of the themes in their qualitative data, however,
shows no difference only on certain themes scoring for need for achievement, such
as, for example, on helping others. Yet Mexican immigrant youth, as compared to
their counterparts in Mexico, told more stories about actively seeking ways out of
an undesirable situation, and in their stories determination to succeed more often
had to do with competence and hard work (see C. Suarez-Orozco & M.
Suarez-Orozco, 1995, pp. 175178). Both these themes are indicative of mastery,
the core of the achievement motive. In another studyof male Jamaican students
in two Jamaican universitiesTidrick (1971) found that overall, those who
planned to emigrate showed higher achievement motivation than those who
wanted to stay in Jamaica or to go abroad only temporarily to study and then return.
A few studies suggest that high levels of affiliation motivation could be
predictive of desire to stay (e.g., Scott & Scott, 1989). This presents a viable
answer to a question that has puzzled immigration researchers: Why is it that some
regions are a source of extensive emigration, whereas other regions with comparable social and political conditions have no emigration at all. Scott and Scott (1989)
argued that certain communities breed highly affiliative personalities whereas


Boneva and Frieze

others do not and that this acts as a stronger determinant of desire to emigrate or
stay than the economic push-pull factors. Thus, it may be that certain regions
have people with generally higher levels of affiliative motivation, and these
regions would have fewer people who want to emigrate.
Dispositional Motives as a Factor in Desire to Emigrate
To understand better the role of personality factors in emigration desires, we
first studied dispositional motives (see Boneva et al., 1997, 1998). We expected
that in countries of economic stagnation or decline, individuals who score high on
achievement and power motivation and low on affiliation motivation would tend to
want to emigrate. We argued that if existing conditions do not allow for satisfactory outlets of these motives, then individuals with high achievement and power
motivation would seek better opportunities in other countries, whereas those high
in affiliation motivation would want to stay, independent of the economic
The achievement motive has been defined as a recurrent concern to surpass
ones own standard of excellence or to do something challenging and unique
(McClelland, 1961). Since achievers are constantly looking for something more
challenging and want to avoid routine, they tend to become restless and mobile
under conditions that reduce challenges and limit their strivings (Kolp, 1965;
McClelland, 1985; Sheppard & Belitsky, 1966). If the social environment does not
allow for efficient or productive behavior, high achievers may migrate in order
to find better opportunities.
The power motive has been defined as a concern about having control over or
impact on others, which is often expressed as a desire to be recognized and to
impress others (McAdams, 1988; McClelland, 1975, 1985; Winter, 1973; see also
Frieze & Boneva, 2001). Those high in power motivation are more willing to take
risks and endure dangers in reaching their goals than individuals low in power
motivation (Fersch, 1971). Also, the general disposition of power-oriented people
is dissatisfaction with oneself and with ones position in society (McClelland,
1975; Winter, 1973). This may also lead to a decision to emigrate. Descriptions of
immigrants as adventurous and risk-taking and more energetic and enterprising
than those left behind (Glazer, 1990, p. 28; see also M. Suarez-Orozco, 1990) fit
into a personality of someone with high power and achievement motivation.
The affiliation motive can be defined as a concern for social acceptance or
a desire to establish and maintain interpersonal relations (Emmons, 1997;
McClelland, 1985). The core of the affiliative experience is connections with other
people and the building of a strong social network. Since individuals high on affiliation motivation are particularly concerned about maintaining relationships, they
are also emotionally concerned over separation from their social network
(McClelland, 1985; Mehrabian & Ksionzky, 1974). This would suggest that a
migratory behavioral pattern is indicative of low affiliation motivation.

The Migrant Personality


Our hypothesis that individuals who wanted to leave their country of origin
would score higher on both achievement and power motivation and lower on affiliation motivation than those who wanted to stay was first tested with 1,050 college
students in three Central and East European countries: Albania, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia (for more details, see Boneva et al., 1997, 1998). We argue that
the self-selection process takes place in the country of origin, not in the receiving
country. As shown in Figure 1, by studying actual immigrants, one is not able to
separate clearly the effects of migration opportunities from the underlying desires
to immigrate. Thus, it is necessary to study immigration desires before the actual
immigration behavior occurs.
Albania, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia were selected for the study
because of the high emigration rates that formerly socialist Central and European
countries have been experiencing since political and social changes were introduced there in the late 1980s. The recent mass emigration from this part of the
world has largely been a result of the new emigration policies of opening the
doors, in addition to the huge differentials in economic development, social conditions, and political stability between the industrial Western democracies and
ex-socialist East European societies (Chesnais, 1991; Wallace & Palyanitsya,
1995). Some studies, however, have indicated that desire to emigrate in this part of
the world was not triggered solely by economic and political factors (see, e.g.,
Bobeva, 1994; Vishnevsky & Zayonchkovskaya, 1994).
Data were collected between 1993 and 1996 for the studies reported here.
Emigration desires were tapped by the question Where would you like to live for
the majority of your adult life? Those respondents who chose the option to live in
another country were the group of the potential emigrants. A comparison group
comprised those who chose to stay in their country of origin in response to this
question. We measured dispositional motives by self-report scales: the achievement motivation scale (Helmreich & Spence, 1978), the power motivation scale
(Schmidt & Frieze, 1997), and the affiliation motivation scale (Mehrabian, 1970).
Although the scales we used were developed in the United States, a growing number of studies show that personality variables identified within one culture can be
meaningful in other cultures and can be applied in cross-cultural comparisons (see
e.g., Lee, McCauley, & Draguns, 1999).
Our results confirmed that there were, indeed, significant differences across
countries in achievement and power motivation between those who wanted to
leave their country of origin and those who wanted to stay. Individuals who indicated that they wanted to live in another country for the majority of their adult lives
had higher achievement motivation and higher power motivation than those who
did not want to leave (see Boneva et al., 1997, 1998).
In the same study, the affiliative motive was examined for the Albanian sample, with the expectation that those who wanted to leave their country of origin
would score lower on affiliation motivation than those who wanted to stay, since


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they would not be as concerned with leaving their relatives and friends behind.
Potential emigrants in Albania scored lower on affiliation motivation than those
who wanted to stay, although there was also a significant Gender Desire to Emigrate interaction. Further analysis showed that the hypothesized prediction was
confirmed only for men, not for women. Albanian college women who wanted to
leave the country did not differ on affiliation motivation from women who wanted
to stay but had significantly higher affiliation motivation than Albanian men who
wanted to leave. Apparently, our expectations for affiliation motivation as a negative predictor of emigration desires need to be further explored.
Values as a Factor in Desire to Emigrate
McClelland (1985) has argued that dispositional motives interact with values
to produce behavior. In order to understand better how achievement, power, and
affiliation motives work together with basic values to affect the choice to emigrate,
in a second study, with a different sample, we examined the interactions of these
motives with work and family centrality (see Frieze et al., 2000).
It is well known that a primary reason for choosing to emigrate to another
country is to enhance work opportunities (see, e.g., Fassmann & Munz, 1994).
Thus, it would be expected that those who see work as more central in their lives
would be more likely to desire to emigrate to countries that have better economic
conditions than those who do not see work as central. Based on our previous findings (Boneva et al., 1997, 1998), we also expected that those who wanted to emigrate would score higher on both work centrality and achievement and power
motivation, as compared to those who wanted to stay. In our first study, there was
some evidence that higher scores on affiliation motivation were associated with
wanting to stay, at least for men. Since it can be expected that highly affiliative
people value family, in our second study we predicted that those who would want
to leave the country would score lower on family centrality. If family and family
relations are central to an individual, she/he would not want to leave them behind.
These hypotheses were tested with a new cross-cultural sample of 2,754
college students from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Slovenia, tested in
1997 through 2000 (for more details, see Frieze et al., 2000). Those who wanted to
leave their country of origin scored significantly higher on work centrality and
lower on family centrality, as predicted. Motives alone, however, did not predict
emigration desires, except in the Czech sample. For the more recent Croatian, Slovene, and Russian samples, students who wanted to leave their country of origin
did not differ significantly on achievement or power motivation from students who
wanted to stay (although means were in the predicted directions). But the interactions between work centrality and achievement or power motivation were significant. Those high in work centrality and achievement (computed as a product of the
two scores) were more likely to want to leave, as were those high in work centrality

The Migrant Personality


and power motivation (again, a product of the two scores). These new findings
indicate that motives alone may not be sufficient to predict desires to emigrate. In
this study achievement and power motivation levels appeared to be important in
determining desires to emigrate only in individuals valuing work and, presumably,
desiring to express their achievement and power motivations through their work.
For this reason, both motives and values are listed as personality predictors of
desires to emigrate.
As expected, within this study, college students who wanted to emigrate
scored significantly lower on family centrality than those who wanted to stay (see
Frieze et al., 2000). These findings, however, need further clarification. In fact,
both groupspotential emigrants and nonmigrantsscored high on family
centrality, and family centrality mean scores were significantly higher than work
centrality mean scores.
In the immigrant literature, a number of studies have emphasized the importance of family for immigrants (e.g., Greenwell, 1997; Leslie, 1992; Schweizer,
Schnegg, & Berzborn, 1998; Sycip & Fawcett, 1988). These studies are not necessarily in disagreement with our findings that people who desire to emigrate tend to
score lower on family centrality and affiliation motivation. People may also immigrate when they want to be reunited with their immediate family in another country. They would not, most probably, have emigrated, were it not for the desire to
join their family. We do not expect this immigrant subgroup that we call secondary
immigrants to possess the dispositional syndrome of primary immigrants (those
individuals who make the initial decision to leave their country of origin).
In fact, in countries like the United States, where immigration policies have
strongly encouraged family reunification, primary immigrants are only a portion
of the total immigrant population. At present, about half of first-generation
immigrants in the United States have entered the country on the basis of family
reunification (J. P. Smith & Edmonston, 1997). This last category would be
expected to have higher affiliation motivation and family centrality than primary
Social Implications of Research on Dispositional Motives
and Values of Migrants
How much do we learn about immigrants by studying the psychological predictors of desires to emigrate or stay? First, desires have been consistently found to
predict actual behaviors (e.g., Ajzen, 1991; Perugini & Conner, 2000). Based on
research findings, Taylor (1969) has shown that desire to emigrate is the first step
toward the actual movein the context of other predictors of migratory behavior.
Second, personality is a comparatively stable structure throughout the life span,
and dispositional motives that form in early childhood do not, as a rule, change
significantly later in life (see, e.g., McClelland, 1985). On this basis, we expect that


Boneva and Frieze

our findings of the motivational structure of potential emigrants will hold true for
primary immigrants.
Our model may not, however, apply to refugees: people who leave in order to
avoid very harsh economic and/or political conditions. On the one hand, one would
expect that refugees, who have moved under the conditions of very strong push
factors, would not share the same dispositional motives or values as primary
immigrants who choose to resettle. The same question, howeverwhy, under the
same strongly unfavorable political and/or economic conditions, some people still
decide to stay whereas others leaveapplies to refugees, too. Also, once displaced, some refugees will want to return to their country of origin as soon as
conditions there normalize, whereas others want to stay in the receiving country for
good, independent of economic and political improvement in their country of
origin. Although political and legal distinctions between refugees and immigrants
should not be ignored (Bernard, 1977; Gold, 1992), the question of what personality factors play a role in the decision to leave or stay in their country of origin, and
later, to stay or leave the receiving country, needs to be further empirically examined for refugees as well.
Consequences of the Emigration of High Achievers Who Value Work
It appears that in the emigration process, the originating country loses some of
its citizens who are most strongly involved with their jobs and careers. The motivational model proposed here suggests that frustration of the aspiration to work up to
ones true abilities and the desire that ones work allow for higher levels of
achievement can drive individuals to leave their country of origin. The phenomenon known as brain drain, for example, appears to relate to the proposed migrant
personality model. It is expected that individuals with high education and skills
who aspire to better jobs in other countries will be work-centered high achievers.
Undoubtedly, the loss of highly achievement-motivated individuals, who are also
work oriented, might potentially create serious social and economic problems for
sending countries with high emigration rates. Work by McClelland and others has
indicated that high or low levels of achievement motivation in the populations of a
country result in increased or decreased levels of economic development
(McClelland, 1961, 1985).
In the literature, strategies for preventing high emigration levels have been
associated with improving the economic conditions in the country (see, e.g.,
Teitelbaum, 1991). In addition, the availability of adequate channels of expressing
political and/or economic discontent for those with frustrated high achievement
and/or power motivation is a possible quick fix in the process of preventing high
emigration rates. Building civil societies in East European countries can contribute
to lowering the emigration rates.

The Migrant Personality


An informative example of this can be seen in a study of Italian emigration at

the beginning of the 20th century. Studying emigration patterns in Italy from 1902
to 1913, MacDonald (1963) found that some poor regions had much lower emigration rates than other, comparably poor areas. In his further analysis of the reasons
for such differences, the author came to the conclusion that one major factor in
emigration was whether opportunities to express ones economic and political
discontent were available. In those regions where there were established political
channels for peasants and laborers to express their dissatisfactions and their aspirations for a better life, the emigration rates were significantly lower than for regions
with no such channels. Such findings fit into our model of the migrant personality.
It can be expected that creating opportunities for outlets to frustrated motives and
values will additionally reduce desire to emigrate from countries of economic
stagnation or decline.
Personality Dispositions of Immigrants and Psychological Interventions
Knowing the specific dispositions and values of immigrants is indispensable
in understanding their behavior in the receiving country. Undoubtedly, immigration is a source of stress, and the problems that accompany resettlement in a new
country are legitimately the concern of many psychologists (Al-Issa, 1997). Immigration is also a means to personal advancement, however, and this aspect of
immigration has been unfairly ignored (Kuo & Tsai, 1986; Tiryakian, 1980).
Immigrants often experience their resettlement in terms of maximizing opportunities in the new setting (see, e.g., Glazer, 1990; Simon, 1990; M. Suarez-Orozco,
1990). They have moved more or less voluntarily from their land of origin to
another society because they believed that such a move would result in improved
economic well-being, better overall opportunities, and/or greater political freedom (Ogbu, 1990, p. 46).
In their new country, however, immigrants undergo a psychologically complicated process of adjustment to the social, cultural, and political conditions that can
lead to severe frustration of their strivings. Better understanding of the migrant personality would help in studying immigrant responses to the frustration or fulfillment of their expectations in the social and political environment of the receiving
country. For immigrants high in power motivation, for example, finding immediate outlets for the expression of their strivings in the country of choice may be especially difficult immediately after resettlement. The frustrated power motive can
lead to socially undesirable behavior, like aggression, for example (McClelland,
1985; McClelland, Davis, Kalin, & Wanner, 1972; Winter, 1973). On the other
hand, since high achievers tend to delay gratification (McClelland, 1985), the
immediate frustration of achievement-motivated new immigrants may not have as
negative psychological consequences.
The power motive has been found to be particularly situation dependent: Its
expressions depend on social class and gender values and habits (Frieze & Boneva,


Boneva and Frieze

2001; McClelland, 1985). For example, studies have associated high power motivation with aggressive behavior in men and in individuals with low education, but
not in women and highly educated persons (e.g., Veroff, 1982). Thus, we would
expect women immigrants, or immigrants with higher education, who were high in
power to exhibit aggressive behavior rarely. Male immigrants, however, especially
those with low educational status, who were high in power motivation might get
involved in deviant or antisocial behavior, since power motivation has been associated also with high levels of risk taking. A few studies have indeed found high rates
of aggressive behavior among male immigrants of low educational status (e.g.,
Sorenson & Telles, 1991).
Personality psychology could help in building strategies to cope with frustrated motives. One way to help immigrants with a high power orientation, for
example, could be to get them involved in small groups, where they can play a special role. Power-oriented individuals like to play organizational roles, to influence
others, and to be recognized (McAdams, 1988; McClelland, 1985). Getting
involved in mentoring programs, running community organizations, or participating in church management within their religion all could be suitable ways for frustrated emigrants to express power motivation (Frieze & Boneva, 2001).
High rates of illness among immigrants reported in some studies (see e.g.,
Al-Issa, 1997) could also be a result of their specific motivational structure.
McClelland and colleagues (McClelland, Davidson, Floor, & Saron, 1980;
McClelland & Jemmott, 1980) found that individuals with high power motivation
and low affiliation motivation, when under stress, exhibit decline in immune resistance. There is also at least some indication that this relationship may hold primarily for men. If further research confirms that our model applies to immigrants, then
male immigrants, who are expected to have high power and low affiliation motivation, would be more prone to sickness, since, with migration, they are undoubtedly
exposed to stress.
Obviously, there are immigrants who do well, and there are others who have
certain psychological problems and/or create problems for the society. Some of
this, we believe, is related to a specific syndrome of motives and values associated
with the migrant personality. Other personality characteristics specific to those
who choose to emigrate could also contribute to the way immigrants feel, think,
and behave in the receiving country. Further understanding of the migrant personality can help us develop psychological interventions to facilitate immigrants
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BONKA BONEVA is teaching at the University of Pittsburgh while holding a

research position at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon
University. She has a PhD in sociology from the University of Sofia and has done
doctoral work in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She previously
worked as a senior researcher in the Department of Social Psychology of the
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, a lecturer at the University of Sofia, a visiting
scholar in the Anthropology Department of Northwestern University, and a visiting associate researcher in both the Anthropology and Psychology Departments
at the University of Pittsburgh. Her diverse research interests and publications
include dispositional motives of people who migrate, acculturation, and social and
ethnic identities.
IRENE HANSON FRIEZE is a professor of psychology and holds an appointment
with the Center for Russian and East-European Studies [REES] at the University of
Pittsburgh. Her research on Central and East European students was assisted by a
Fulbright Fellowship and by funding from REES and the Womens Studies
Program at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to emigration, her work looks
at career planning of college students and predictors of gender role attitudes.