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

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 187-196
Mitch van Geel; Paul Vedder
Date Published
February 2011
10 pages
This study tested whether there was an immigrant paradox among adolescents in junior vocational education.
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 has been used to explain these positive adaptation outcomes. Using self-reports in a sample of 277 national adolescents (45.5 percent female) and a sample of 175 non-western immigrant adolescents (58.9 percent 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. (Published Abstract) Tables and references