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Parenting, academic achievement and health among children of Turkish immigrants

Final Activity Report Summary - CULTUREPARENTING (Parenting, academic achievement and health among children of Turkish immigrants)

The research line was established at the intersection of social, developmental, and cross-cultural psychology, so that a broad perspective was gained in studying multiple aspects of acculturation experiences of immigrant families and youth. Turkish immigrants are the only national group with large populations that reside throughout Europe. Given the large potential for a demographic shift in the host countries, understanding the underlying factors that make immigrants unable to participate in and contribute to the European public sphere is important. This research threw light onto compelling challenges posed by growing and living in a multiculturally diverse setting and barriers in the way of academic achievement and successful sociocultural integration for children in migration.

In particular, the research has focused on direct and indirect links between cultural values-parental goals-parenting styles and child outcomes. The key questions were:
(a) how do adolescents of immigrants navigate between strikingly different cultural spheres at their home and in the wider society? And
(b) how does the way acculturating youth experience their parents' parenting impact their psychological health and sociocultural integration?

The degree of cultural continuity in family values and parental styles has largely been studied in acculturation literature from the perspective of adults or parents but research on children's experiences of migration is scarce. During this research not only the degree was studied but also the meaning of cultural continuity in the eye of children and did so cross-culturally. Specifically, there was a comparison between children with youth in their country of origin and of settlement, a research design that allows for safer conclusions about cultural practices of immigrants as compared to single sample studies or immigrant-majority comparisons. Empirical evidence was documented for the continuity of the traditional patterns of parent-child relationships and for effective intergenerational transmission of heritage culture within immigrant families.

Next, cultural values and acculturation was studied from a multiple perspective going beyond predominant unidimensional approaches so as to fully understand the function of cultural continuity in migration. This perspective uncovered some invisible yet challenging conditions acculturating youth face in pursuit of optimal functioning in their multiple worlds. Given that socialisation and acculturation are gendered processes but gender is a neglected topic in the research on socialisation in acculturation, it was examined how adolescent girls and boys experience different aspects of acculturation. This approach contributed significantly to our understanding of gender pathways of acculturation showing that adolescent daughters and sons of immigrant families tend to diverge in their cultural orientation and adaptation and this divergence is associated with their differential experience of intercultural context.

In sum, in addition to advancing the research on parent-child relationship and adolescent development in migration theoretically and methodologically, this research has provided valuable insights about the socialisation context of children of immigrants as well as obstacles and dilemmas these children experience in the process of successful adaptation and integration.