Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Immigrant youth better off if still attached to their ethnic culture, largest-ever international study finds


Immigrant youth are better able to handle discrimination, have fewer emotional problems, and get along better in school and in the community when they remain strongly attached to their own ethnic culture rather than try to melt into a national culture, a Queen’s University-based international psychological study has found. They do even better when they have a double attachment to both the national society and to their heritage culture.

Encompassing more than 5,000 interviews with immigrant youth in 13 countries, the study is the world’s most exhaustive examination of how the children of first-generation immigrants adapt in a new culture. Immigrant Youth In Cultural Transition: Acculturation, Identity and Adaptation Across National Contexts, will be published early next year by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Amongst its comprehensive findings, the study concludes that a strong ethnic identity may have a “buffering effect” against discrimination – “Adolescents who are confident in their own ethnicity and proud of their ethnic group may be better able to deal constructively with discrimination, for example, by regarding it as the problem of the perpetrator or by taking proactive steps to combat it.”

An unexpected finding is that immigrant youth who try to blend in actually have more problems.

“The big surprise here is that youth don’t do as well either psychologically or socially if they try to assimilate,” says Dr. John Berry.

The Queen’s psychology professor emeritus is the lead author of the 10-year study which looks at the psychological, social and academic success of participants while considering a plethora of variables including: perceived discrimination, length of residence, religion, gender, age, language proficiency, neighbourhood composition, actual diversity in the country of settlement, and diversity policy in that country.

The result is the broadest view to date of how immigrant youth adapt to and succeed in the home countries chosen by their parents. The study also revealed:

  • Immigrant youth are as well adapted as the resident youth of each country.
  • The largest group of immigrant youth eventually adapt by becoming bi-cultural, rather than assimilated – 36 per cent of immigrant youth were comfortable and involved in both their ethnic and national cultures.
  • 23 per cent are primarily oriented toward their ethnic culture. While adolescents with this profile adapt well psychologically, they view themselves as separate from the national culture and are less involved in the larger society.
  • Participants who try to assimilate have poorer self-esteem, do not do as well in school and exhibit more anti-social behaviour than those who integrate. Nineteen per cent of the youth fit this profile, indicating that immigrant adolescents generally reject total assimilation as a strategy for adapting.
  • Immigrant youth fare better in countries that have a strategy of promoting diversity than they do in countries that do not specifically support diversity.

The study urges governments to abandon public policies that stress assimilation and adopt those which actively promote diversity and an acceptance of ethnic cultures.

“Countries can help their new immigrants adapt by actively supporting diversity in health care, broadcasting, education – in all facets of society,” says Dr. Berry who notes that Canada is a world leader in promoting diversity.

Participants came from the three kinds of countries that receive immigrants: settler countries (Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and the U.S.), formerly colonizing countries (France, Germany, Netherlands and the U.K.), and countries that have more recently been receiving immigrants (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Portugal).


Sarah Withrow 613.533.3280, or Lorinda Peterson 613-533-3234,, Queen’s News & Media Services

Attention broadcasters: Queen’s now has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston fibre optic cable and broadcast quality radio transmissions from our on-campus studio. Please call for details.

Sarah Withrow | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>