The emotional tasks of adaptation for Russian immigrant families can be divided into time periods. A focus on the past requires the mourning of losses, and may be experienced as nostalgia or depression. In the present, the tasks are identity modification and adjustment to the altered family power structure, as different family members adapt at varying rates and in different ways. Issues of language, work skills, family communication skills, illness and death of loved ones all play a role. The future focuses attention on the sense of hope, which is dependent on ego strength, motivation, and modification of culturally determined expectations. Failure in any of these tasks may intensify prior maladaptive modes of coping and relating. It is the task of caregivers to comprehend the multiple interpenetrating factors involved in adaptation and respond empathically to the varied experiences and feelings of different individuals.
In Journal of Jewish Communal Service, v.75 no.4, Summer 1999.