Sample publications

Mähönen, T. A., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2016). Ramifications of positive and negative contact experiences among remigrants from Russia to Finland. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22(2), 247-255.

Abstract: Objectives: This article focuses on the effects of positive and negative contact with majority Finns on the outgroup attitudes of remigrants from Russia to Finland. We tested (a) whether negative contact leads to negative outgroup attitudes via perceived threats, and (b) whether positive contact leads to positive outgroup attitudes via perceived gains seen to result from contact with majority Finns. We also tested whether the effects of contact with majority members generalized to attitudes toward other immigrant groups living in Finland. Method: The study used 2-wave longitudinal panel data on Ingrian-Finnish remigrants (NT1 = 133, mean age 46.4 years, 73% females; NT2 = 85, mean age 49.3 years, 73% females). Results: The results attested the effects of positive contact experiences on attitudes toward both majority and other minority group members, via perceived gains. As regards negative contact, it was associated with more negative attitudes toward the majority via perceived threats, but no evidence of secondary transfer effect on attitudes toward other immigrants was found. Conclusions: The results highlight the importance of simultaneous examination of positive and negative contact. Especially positive contact and gains perceived to result from it can be powerful tools in promoting positive outgroup attitudes also among minority group members. The results also show the role of majority group members in defining interminority attitudes.

Mähönen, T. A., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2016). “Meet me halfway”: Socio-cultural adaptation and perceived contact willingness of host nationals as predictors of immigrants’ threat perceptions. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 26, 125–135.

Abstract: This three-wave study investigated the interplay between perceived socio-cultural adaptation and perceived willingness of the majority group to engage in contact, when predicting realistic and symbolic threats perceived by ethnic migrants from Russia to Finland. To sum up our key findings, the less immigrants perceived difficulties in socio-cultural adaptation soon after migration, the more positive were their later perceptions of the majority group members’ contact willingness. Majority’s perceived contact willingness was associated with lower levels of perceived realistic threats, and perceived contact willingness and perceived socio-cultural adaptation were both associated with lower levels of perceived symbolic threats. As regards practical implications of our findings for culturally diverse communities, equal efforts should be made to help newcomers’ socio-cultural adaptation and to support their positive intergroup interactions with majority group members. That way, the beneficial impact of both of these factors on immigrant integration could be maximized.

Mähönen, T. A., Varjonen, S., Prindiville, N., Arnold, L., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2015). Boundaries of National Belonging in Ingrian Finnish Return Migration: A Multi-level Perspective. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 5, 126–134.

Abstract: This study examines the discursive construction of Finnishness within the
context of Ingrian Finns’ return migration from Russia to Finland. The focus is
on how characteristics of Finnishness, especially ancestry and language, are
employed at institutional, community and interpersonal levels of text and talk.
The results show how the same characteristics can be used to both in- and
exclude Ingrian Finns from the national ingroup, and how essentialist notions
of ethnonational belonging can be used strategically by both state authorities
and Ingrian Finns themselves to make claims about their Finnishness and right
to remigrate.

Lönnqvist, J., Leikas, S., Mähönen, T. A., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2015). The mixed blessings of migration: Life satisfaction and self-esteem over the course of migration. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 496-514.

Abstract: We investigated the psychological adaptation of Ingrian–Finnish migrants from Russia to Finland between 2008 and 2013. Pre-migration data (N  = 225) were collected at the Finnish language courses that were part of the immigration training program. The three post-migration follow-ups were conducted half a year (N = 155), and 2 (N = 133) and 3 years (N  = 85) after migration. Well-being was assessed with measures of Life Satisfaction and Self-Esteem. Life Satisfaction increased from pre-migration to the first post-migration measurement point, after which it stabilized. Self-Esteem decreased throughout the study. Variables reflecting adjustment to the event of migration (e.g., acculturation stress, socio-cultural adaptation) were primarily associated with well-being at the first post-migration measurement point. More general determinants of well-being (e.g., social support and subjective economic situation) were more consistently associated with well-being throughout the study. The results suggest that migration can be beneficial to some but detrimental to other types of well-being.

Mähönen, T. A., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2015). The ironic effect of national identification on support for collective action. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 567–574.

Abstract: Previous research has suggested that dual and superordinate identities are not only prerequisites of collective action among minority group members but they can also be associated with greater acceptance of the ingroup’s disadvantaged position. In this three-wave study among Ingrian Finnish migrants from Russia to Finland (N=153T1−85T3), we tested the indirect association between superordinate national identification (T1) and support for collective action (T3), via perceived permeability of group boundaries (T2). Support for collective action was operationalized as one’s personal willingness, and the perceived need of the Russian-speaking community, to engage in it. When controlling for the direct association between Russian minority identification and support for collective action, perceived permeability was shown to mediate the negative association between Finnish national identification and support for community’s collective action. Thus, being close to the majority may make immigrants perceive group boundaries as more permeable and be less inclined to improve their group’s position.

Mähönen, T. A., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Ketokivi, M. (2014). Mapping the individual-level dynamics of perceived discrimination and attitudes toward multiculturalism and cultural maintenance: A pre-post study of migration. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 39, 124-135.

Abstract: This three-wave study among ethnic migrants from Russia to Finland (N = 136) investigated the stability and change of attitudes toward cultural diversity, i.e., support for multiculturalism and preference for cultural maintenance, over the course of migration. More specifically, we expected changes in these attitudes to be a result of changes in perceived ethnic discrimination. We were also able to look at the empirical relationship of these conceptually linked attitudes over time. A latent change modeling approach was employed to examine individual change trajectories in discrimination and the two attitudes of interest, while controlling for expectations related to them in the pre-migration stage. The results indicated that, on average, the variables of interest were rather positive over time. With regard to the observed changes, individual changes in support for multiculturalism were associated with changes in cultural maintenance in the post-migration stage, but changes in perceived discrimination were not associated with changes in these two attitudes. Thus, the results of the present longitudinal study speak for the robustness of attitudes toward cultural diversity in the face of adversity.

Mähönen, T. A., Leinonen E., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2013). Met expectations and the wellbeing of diaspora immigrants. A longitudinal study. International Journal of Psychology, 48(3), 324-333.

Abstract:  Previous research has pointed to the importance of expectations for the adaptation of immigrants. However, most studies have been methodologically retrospective with only limited possibilities to show the optimal relationship between migrants’ expectations and actual acculturation experiences for their wellbeing and other aspects of psychological adaptation. Moreover, previous research has been conducted mostly among sojourners and students. This longitudinal study focused on the relationship between premigration expectations and postmigration experiences of diaspora immigrants from Russia to Finland (N = 153). We examined how the fulfillment of premigration expectations in social (i.e., family relations, friendships, and free time) and economic (i.e., occupational position, working conditions, and economic and career situation) domains affects immigrants’ wellbeing (i.e., satisfaction with life and general mood) after migration. Three alternative models of expectation confirmation (i.e., disconfirmation model, ideal point model, and the importance of experiences only) derived from previous organizational psychological research were tested with polynomial regression and response surface analysis. In the economic domain, immigrants’ expectations, experiences, and their interrelationship did not affect wellbeing in the postmigration stage. However, in the social domain, the more expectations were exceeded by actual experiences, the better were life satisfaction and the general mood of immigrants. The results underline the importance of social relationships and the context-dependent nature of immigrants’ wellbeing. Interventions in the preacculturation stage should create positive but realistic expectations for diaspora immigrants and other groups of voluntary (re)migrants. Furthermore, policies concerning the postmigration stage should facilitate the fulfillment of these expectations and support the social adaptation of immigrants.


Mähönen, T. A., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2012). Anticipated and perceived intergroup relations as predictors of immigrants’ identification patterns: A follow-up study.  European Psychologist, 17(2), 120-130.

Abstract: The present study among Ingrian-Finnish remigrants (N = 153) from Russia to Finland examined the effects of anticipated discrimination in the pre-migration stage on the way intergroup relations are perceived and multiple cultural identities are formed in the post-migration stage. First, the results indicated that anticipated discrimination in the pre-migration stage affected perceived discrimination, permeability of group boundaries, and group status legitimacy in the post-migration stage. Second, anticipated discrimination in the pre-migration stage was not directly associated with any of the identities in the post-migration stage, but it was indirectly associated with national identification, via perceived discrimination and permeability of group boundaries. Perceived discrimination and impermeability of group boundaries in the post-migration stage were associated with lower levels of remigrants’ national (Finnish) identification in the new homeland. Third, the perceived legitimacy of Ingrian-Finns’ low status was associated with increased Russian minority identification. The findings extend previous research on the effects of anticipated intergroup contact on actual intergroup encounters on the one hand, and on the effects of perceived discrimination, status legitimacy, and permeability of group boundaries on national and ethnic identification among immigrants, on the other.


Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., Mähönen, T. A., & Liebkind, K. (2012). Identity and attitudinal reactions to perceptions of intergroup interactions among ethnic migrants: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 312–329.

Abstract: This 1-year follow-up study investigated the direct and indirect effects of past, anticipated, and actual experiences of inter-group interactions on the development of national identity and attitudes towards the national majority among ethnic re-migrants (N= 141) from Russia to Finland. According to the results, the quality of past inter-group contact in the pre-migration stage (T1) did not directly affect national identification and out-group attitudes in the post-migration stage (T2). Instead, the effect of contact quality at T1 on national identification and out-group attitudes at T2 was indirect via perceived discrimination and out-group rejection at T2. In addition, there were two indirect pathways from out-group attitudes at T1 to national identification and out-group attitudes at T2, via pleasant contact experiences (further associated with positive out-group attitudes) and via perceived discrimination (further associated with negative attitudes and lower national identification) in the post-migration stage. Anticipated discrimination only had a direct effect on out-group attitudes in the post-migration stage. The results highlight the role of past and anticipated inter-group relations in the formation of post-migration inter-group interactions, which, in turn, are decisive for the formation of national identification and out-group attitudes of re-migrants.


Lönnqvist, J., Yijälä, A., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Verkasalo, M. (2012). Accuracy and contrast in national value stereotypes – A Case study using Ingrian-Finns as bi-cultural experts. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. 36(2), 271–278.

Abstract:  National Finns (N = 286), as well as potential, Ingrian Finnish (N = 229) and Russian (N = 78) migrants from Russia to Finland rated their own personal values and the values of a typical Finn and Russian. Virtually all participants in our migrant samples, although still living in Russia, had been in frequent contact with Finns and Finland, suggesting that they could be considered expert judges regarding the values of Russians and Finns. Indeed, both samples were highly accurate in their descriptions of the typical Finn. However, Ingrian Finns’ ratings of the typical Russian were, perhaps due to past conflict-ridden intergroup relations, distorted by contrast effects. Specifically, the typical Russian was portrayed as opposite to how Ingrian Finns saw themselves and also to how they saw the typical Finn. Surprisingly, the Russian migrants, although they did not show any contrast effects, were also inaccurate in their ratings of the typical Russian. The sample of national Finns generally showed no accuracy in their ratings of the typical Finns or Russian, but did show a contrast effect between self-ratings and the ratings of a typical Russian. Contrary to previous research that has found even expert ratings of national stereotypes to be inaccurate, the current results suggest that bi-cultural individuals (the Ingrian Finns) and other experts (the Russian spouses of the Ingrian Finns) can provide accurate national stereotypes. However, individuals embedded within the one culture only may lack a reference point for rating their compatriots. One key difference to previous research is the use of personal values rather than personality traits to measure the accuracy of national stereotypes.


Liebkind, K., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Mähönen, T. A. (2011). Specifying social psychological adaptation of immigrant youth: Intergroup attitudes, interactions, and identity. In A. M Masten, D. Hernandez, & K. Liebkind (Eds.) Capitalizing on Migration: The Potential of Immigrant Youth Cambridge University Press.


Yijälä, A., Lönnqvist, J. E., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Verkasalo, M. (2011). Values as predictors of anticipated socio-cultural adaptation among potential migrants from Russia to Finland. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22(29, 95-110.

Abstract: This study examined the role of value patterns of potential migrants from Russia to Finland (N = 229) in predicting expectations of post-migration socio-cultural adaptation. Furthermore, the fit between migrants’ personal values and the values they expect to encounter in the new home country (i.e. perceived value congruence) was hypothesized to predict anticipated socio-cultural adaptation (ASCA). The study took into account perceived cultural distance variables as well as socio-demographic controls traditionally related to adaptation outcomes among migrants. According to the results, familiarity with the host country (i.e., the number of Finnish friends/relatives in Finland), the openness to change value and perceived value congruence significantly predicted potential migrants’ ASCA. When using four sub-scales (interpersonal relations, cognitive understanding, impersonal perils and bureaucracy) of the ASCA-scale, a more complex picture emerged. The results suggest that future work should include values, particularly perceived value congruence, in the analysis of the cultural fit hypothesis, as well as find better means of supporting immigrant adjustment starting at the pre-migration stage.


Lönnqvist, J.-E., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Verkasalo, M. (2011). Personal Values before and after Migration: A Longitudinal Case Study on Value Change in Ingrian-Finnish Migrants. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(6), 584-591.

Abstract: We investigated the process of value change in a migration context. Specifically, in a longitudinal panel design with around 19 months between measurement points, 145 Ingrian–Finnish migrants from Russia to Finland completed the same measures of personal values both before and after migration. As expected, the importance of both Universalism and Security values increased after migration, whereas the importance of Power and Achievement values decreased. Although this pattern of value change was reliable at the level of the group, any two migrant’s value change profiles shared only 2% of their variance, suggesting divergent patterns of value change across migrants. At the level of the individual, the structure of value change was similar to the typical between-subjects structure of values.


Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Yijälä, A. (2010). The model of pre-acculturative stress. A longitudinal study of potential migrants from Russia to Finland. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(4), 499-510.

Abstract: This study tested a model of factors predicting pre-acculturative stress among potential migrants from Russia to Finland prior to their migration (N = 244). By applying the theory of stress ( Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), the model of acculturative stress (e.g., Berry, 2006) and the expectations model (e.g., Black, 1992 and Black et al., 1992) to the pre-acculturation stage, it was hypothesized that the potential migrants’ pre-acculturative stress is a result of expectations about future (post-migration) adaptation. These expectations are developed through direct and indirect pre-migration contacts with, as well as knowledge about, the society of immigration. Three types of expectations during the pre-acculturation stage were studied: expected difficulties in socio-cultural adaptation, expected duration of adaptation, and expected discrimination. In line with the hypotheses, experiences of pre-acculturative stress clearly originated from the expectations that potential migrants had regarding their upcoming post-migration adaptation. Also, socioeconomic status, gender, general well-being, self-efficacy, perceived social support, and length of the pre-acculturation stage played important roles in predicting expectations and/or stress among the potential migrants. The study highlights that pre-acculturation is a complex process that begins at the pre-migration stage. It contributes to our understanding of pre-acculturation in general, as well as the factors affecting the formation of pre-acculturative stress among voluntary ethnic migrants.


Yijälä, A. (2010) Pre-Immigration Profiles of Potential Ethnic Migrants from Finnish Diaspora in Russia: A Social Psychological Study. In L. D. Pretto, G. Macri C. Wong (Eds.) Diasporas: Revisiting and Discovering (pp. 185-203) UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press


Yijälä, A., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2010). Pre-migration acculturation attitudes among potential ethnic migrants from Russia to Finland. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34(4), 326-339.

Abstract: This study investigates factors predicting acculturation strategies among potential ethnic migrants prior to their migration. 325 potential migrants from Russia to Finland were surveyed at the pre-migration stage. Factors studied included perceived acculturation expectations of the members of the receiving society, values, cultural identities, general well-being, self-efficacy, cultural knowledge, social networks in the new home country, language proficiency, perceived cultural similarity, support for multicultural ideology and perceived discrimination in the country of origin. In line with the hypotheses, the respondents preferred integration over assimilation, separation and marginalisation strategies. Discriminant analysis was computed to distinguish integrationists, assimilationists and separationists, resulting in two functions that discriminated between the groups. The most important predictors explaining pre-migration acculturation attitudes were the perceptions potential migrants have of future hosts’ preferences for immigrants’ cultural maintenance and contacts with hosts. In addition, general well-being, Russian identity and support for multicultural ideology significantly predicted acculturation attitudes in the pre-migration stage. The study highlights the importance of acknowledging that acculturation begins already at the pre-migration stage. It contributes to our understanding of pre-acculturation in general and factors affecting the formation of pre-migration acculturation attitudes in particular.


Varjonen, S., Arnold, L. & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2009) “There is a difference.” A discourse analytic study on the social construction of Finnishness and Finnish identity. In I. Jasinskaja-Lahti and T. A. Mähönen (Eds.) Identities, Intergroup Relations and Acculturation – The Cornerstones of Intercultural Encounters (pp. 52-66) Helsinki: Gaudeamus

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