Becoming an American and Liking It as Functions of Social Distance and Severity of Initiation

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper examines the effects of social distance among a sample of immigrants in the process of becoming United States citizens. Using the Bogardus Social Distance Scale, a positive relationship was found between the degree of social distance and the likelihood of becoming a citizen. Social distance also serves as an important indicator of severity of initiation; the findings suggest that severity of initiation had a positive influence on reported satisfaction with life in America for those who became U. S. citizens. For those who did not become citizens, however, social distance had an inverse affect on satisfaction.