Bonds to the homeland: Patterns and determinants of women's transnational travel frequency among three immigrant groups in Germany

Svitlana Iarmolenko, Peter F. Titzmann, Rainer K. Silbereisen
Published Online:
24 Jan 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 2

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Technology developments have changed immigrants' adaptation patterns in modern societies, allowing immigrants to sustain dense, complex connections with homeland while adjusting in the host country, a new phenomenon termed transnationalism. As empirical studies on immigrant transnationalism are still scarce, the purpose of this study was to investigate mean levels and determinants of a core component of transnationalism—transnational travel. Hypotheses were based on context of exiting homeland, living conditions in Germany and demographic and sociocultural variables. Transnational travel behaviour was assessed as frequency of return trips in three immigrant groups in Germany: ethnic Germans, Russian Jews and Turks. Interviews were conducted with 894 women participants from these groups. Results showed substantial transnational travel behaviour in all groups with Turks reporting higher levels than ethnic Germans and Russian Jews. Interindividual differences in transnational travel within groups were also examined. Results indicated similarities (e.g. network size in home country related positively to transnational travel frequency in all groups) and group‐specific associations (e.g. co‐ethnic identifying related positively to transnational travel frequency among Turks, but negatively for the other groups). Our study highlights the need for a new understanding of immigration and emphasises the consideration of group‐specific mechanisms in transnational travel behaviour.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science