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01-02-2011 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2011 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2011

The Role of Family Obligations and School Adjustment in Explaining the Immigrant Paradox

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2011
Auteurs:
Mitch van Geel, Paul Vedder

Abstract

This study examined the role of family obligations and school adjustment in explaining immigrant adolescents’ adaptation. Despite a relatively low socio-economic status, immigrant adolescents have been found to have a pattern of adaptation superior to that of national adolescents. Immigrant adolescents’ strong sense of family obligations and positive school adjustment have been used to explain these positive adaptation outcomes. Using self-reports in a sample of 277 national adolescents (45.5% female) and a sample of 175 non-western immigrant adolescents (58.9% female), both samples with a mean age of 15 years, it was found that despite a lower socio-economic status, the adaptation of immigrant adolescents was as good as the nationals’ adaptation. Immigrant adolescents scored higher on family obligations and school adjustment. Family obligations and school adjustment were found positively related to adaptation outcomes in the national and the immigrant adolescent sample. Findings suggest that, in underprivileged environments, a strong sense of family obligations may help immigrants as well as national adolescents achieve a positive pattern of adaptation.

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