Adaptation of adolescents in social context – integrating developmental, acculturative, and intergroup approaches

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

This dissertation examines individual differences in the adaptation of adolescents and focuses on the case of immigrant adolescents. It proposes a guiding framework that integrates developmental, acculturative, and intergroup approaches in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the processes underlying adaptation. From this framework, I derive two core research questions that guide the three empirical studies of this dissertation. First, what is the longitudinal interplay of developmental tasks and acculturative tasks? Second, what is the longitudinal interplay of either of these two tasks and the quality of adolescents’ relationships with family and peers? This dissertation is based on three studies that used the same longitudinal data set of immigrant and host-national students. Study 1 showed that family functioning and involvement in host and ethnic cultures predicted immigrant adolescents’ self-efficacy and ethnic identity. Study 2 revealed that sociometric peer likability by ingroup but not outgroup classmates predicted self-esteem of both immigrants and host-nationals, which was fully mediated by their self-perceived likability. Study 3 demonstrated that sociometric peer likability by host-national but not by immigrant classmates predicted low perceptions of personal discrimination in immigrant adolescents. In summary, this dissertation successfully applied the proposed integrative framework by demonstrating that positive relationships with family and peers represented resources for adolescents’ mastery of their acculturative and developmental tasks, which in turn were intertwined. The main implication is that each of the two cultures and societal groups presents immigrant adolescents with different risks and resources that are all important aspects of their adaptation. In sum, this dissertation is an important step toward a more contextualized and integrative understanding of the adaptation of adolescents in a modern society.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

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