Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Jane Synge
This study deals with intra-ethnic differences in social support and ethnic identity retention among first- and second-generation Dutch-Canadian Catholics and Calvinists. It builds on the author's 1990 MA thesis, which dealt with the experiences of 99 older Dutch immigrants. We are especially interested in now ethnicity and religion influence the establishment of community and the types of social support given to older parents. Different patterns of settlement were evident among Dutch immigrants who arrived after 1945 in Ontario. Archival material shows that the Calvinists established their own institutions, while Catholics tended to make use of existing institutions. Breton's model of institutional completenes and Driedger's conformity-pluralist model were used to explain assimilation patterns. We conducted a survey of elderly Dutch-Canadian immigrants (N=79) and their children (N=364) in order to determine patterns of social support and ethnic identity.
There were substantial variations between Dutch-Canadian Catholics and Calvinists in the extent of ethnic identity retention, levels of religiosity, and levels of institutional completeness. Institutional completeness was a more important indicator of ethnic identity retention than was the use of the Dutch language. The elderly Calvinist parents and their middle-aged children reported higher levels of ethnic identity retention and religiosity. Calvinists belonged to many ethnic and/or religious organizations. Dutch Catholics have assimilated more readily and have joined churches serving a variety of ethnic groups. They were much more likely to marry outside their faith and/or the Dutch group and they were more accepting of intermarriage. Catholics tended to have friends workmates from all groups in Canadian society, while Calvinists associated with other Dutch Calvinists. While patterns of family support are similar, the Dutch Calvinist community has provided retirement residences and nursing homes for about one-third of its older members. Tile Dutch-Catholic community has provided very little housing for its older members. This study contributes to the limited body of Canadian research on aging, religion, and ethnicity.
Dijk, Joanne van, "Ethnicity, Aging, and Support Among Dutch Canadians: A Study of Community in Two Generations of Catholics and Calvinists" (1996). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2427.