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06-11-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2020

Never Mind the Acculturation Gap: Migrant Youth’s Wellbeing Benefit when They Retain Their Heritage Culture but Their Parents Adopt the Settlement Culture

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2020
Qian Sun, Nicolas Geeraert, Andrew Simpson
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The extent to which migrant families successfully navigate their settlement and heritage cultures has been associated with family members’ well-being. Specifically, parent-offspring acculturation gaps are purportedly linked to negative outcomes. Inconsistences in prior research are discussed in light of possible concerns relating to conceptual clarity and methodological limitations. To examine these, a study of 153 youth-parent dyads (youth sample: 58% female, Mage = 19.64, range = 13–25) was conducted. Participants were asked to assess their acculturation and that of their relative. Using multilevel regression, individual acculturation, but not acculturation gaps, was associated with youth well-being. Heritage engagement of youth and settlement engagement of their parents was beneficial, whereas parent’s heritage engagement was detrimental. Thus, integration at the family level is likely to maximize migrant youth well-being.

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