Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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In many Western countries, immigrant children lag behind their native peers in educational attainment, yet there appear to be systematic differences between immigrant groups. We set out to examine (1) if these differential outcomes can be linked to group specific acculturation patterns, following similar processes to those observed at individual level; and (2) to what extent characteristics of the country of origin could help to explain differences in the acculturation process and school adjustment of immigrant children in Germany. In particular, we investigated country-level relationships between children’s acculturation conditions (e.g., perceived parental acculturation expectations and cultural practices in the family), orientations (ethnic and mainstream), and school-related outcomes (psychological and sociocultural) as well as how these in turn are related to characteristics of the countries of origin (e.g. cultural values, level of development and religious composition). Country-level analyses were based on a diverse sample of 695 second- and third-generation immigrant children from more than 50 different countries in Germany. (1) Our results confirm that country-level relationships between different components of the acculturation process are very similar to what has been found at individual level. (2) We found some relationships between characteristics of the country of origin and acculturation conditions, yet, the relationships with children’s acculturation orientations and outcomes were much weaker. These findings suggest that (1) there appear to be immigrant group-specific acculturation patterns which can explain differences in school adjustment and (2) characteristics of the country of origin only play a minor role in immigrant children’s school adjustment.

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