Acculturation gaps in diaspora immigrant adolescent–mother dyads: The case for a domain‐, group‐ and context‐specific view on family adaptation

Lara Aumann, Peter F. Titzmann
Published Online:
15 Aug 2018
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 53 Issue S2

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Intergenerational value mismatch in immigrant families, also termed acculturation gap, is well documented. However, in increasingly diverse societies, the generalizability of this phenomenon across immigrant groups, across dimensions and domains of acculturation, and across different receiving societies is questionable. This comparative study investigated mother–adolescent acculturation gaps of two diaspora immigrant samples, who had lived in the former Soviet Union for generations, across two receiving societies (Germany vs. Israel), across two dimensions (ethnic vs. host) in two domains of adaptation (behavioural: language vs. cognitive: identity). In addition, we investigated whether these acculturation gaps are detrimental or beneficial for mother–adolescent communication. Participants comprised 342 diaspora immigrants divided into 80 German repatriate mother–adolescent dyads in Germany (adolescents' mean age: 16.9 years, 48.8% female) and 91 Russian Jewish mother–adolescent dyads in Israel (adolescents' mean age: 15.8 years, 51.6% female) who were interviewed in person at their homes. Results indicated diaspora‐specific effects in ethnic identity, with adolescents identifying more closely with their ethnic culture than their mothers. Our study highlights that acculturation gaps can undermine parent–child‐communication across both contexts, although we also found some context‐specific effects.

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