04 SES 06 F, Migration And Diversity: Between Students' Integration And Acculturation
Today’s discourse of educational disparities between immigrant and non-immigrant students has shifted from focusing on the determinants of academic failure to searching for factors of academic resilience among students. “Academically resilient students are generally defined as those who overcome adversity to achieve academic success” (Cutmore et al., 2018, p. 10). It recognizes that, although all students need to develop resilience capacities in the face of educational challenges, there are additional risks for immigrant students, such as linguistic and cultural differences. Therefore, it is important to consider the process of acculturation and its outcomes while discussing the academic success or failure of students with an immigrant background (García Coll & Marks, 2012; Makarova & Birman, 2015). Finally, current research follows a more holistic understanding of academic success, focusing not only on students’ achievement outcomes but also on their psychological adjustment (Makarova & Birman, 2016) and highlighting that not only risk but also resource factors are important determinants of individual resilience in the acculturation process (Castro & Murray, 2010).
Following the eco-developmental framework of human development (Bronfenbrenner, 1977), the contextual approach of acculturation research suggests that the relationship between acculturation and adjustment is shaped by the surrounding context (Birman & Simon, 2014). According to Castro and Murray (2010, p. 381), “context is recognized as a condition that influences many outcomes and their meaning, including the role of context as a condition that influences the process of acculturation”.
With respect to family challenges in cultural transition, a number of studies have focused on the acculturation gap between parents and their children, which appears when children acculturate to the new cultural environment more rapidly and are more likely to endorse the host culture than their parents, who prefer to preserve the values of their original culture exclusively (Birman, 2006b). Research into the impact of acculturation gaps on family adjustment (Birman 2006a, p. 568) highlights that acculturation gaps between parents and children were associated with greater family discord. Other studies have investigated whether there is a difference between developmentally caused intergenerational conflicts and “conflicts specifically tied to the acculturation process” (Stuart, Ward, Jose, & Narayanan, 2010, p. 116). Their results suggest that developmentally caused family conflicts may be intensified by the acculturation process. Based on data from a cross-cultural survey, Phinney and Vedder (2006) conclude that intergenerational discrepancies “appear to be a normal developmental phenomenon, common to immigrant and national families alike” (ibid., p. 182). Nevertheless, when it comes to family obligations, parents and youth differ significantly more in immigrant families than they do in the national families. Thus, the intergenerational discrepancy is larger under conditions of an acculturation gap among immigrant families. Overall, we conclude that acculturation discrepancies between parents and their children can burden the adjustment of minority youth.
In this vein, the present study aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the determinants of minority students’ academic success, by analyzing family-related risk and resource factors that may affect their acculturation and school adjustment. Taking into account that the acculturation process in school challenges minority youth to bridge discrepancies between their family’s heritage culture and the school culture of the host country (Birman 2006a), our study aims to provide a systematic review of the findings of empirical research on minority youth’s acculturation, focusing on the influence of family-related factors in minority youth’s school adjustment. The main questions are: 1) How can family-related characteristics affect minority youth’s acculturation? 2) What kind of parental attitudes, expectations and behaviors can be identified as risk or resource factors for the school adjustment of minority youth?
To identify family-related risk and resource factors for minority students’ school adjustment, we conducted a systematic literature review, based on which effect sizes were quantified in a meta-analysis. A search in the database of the Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC) yielded 348 peer-reviewed articles on youth acculturation and school adjustment. To ensure that the selected articles addressed the topic of acculturation in the school context, the abstracts of these articles were examined. For the study to be included, two criteria were considered essential in the abstract: (a) the topic of acculturation had to be addressed (b) in relation to minority students’ adjustment in the school context. Next, the abstracts of the remaining 254 articles were examined to select only studies that addressed compulsory, secondary education. Based on this criterion, 146 articles were selected, of which 72 articles reported on quantitative research. Finally, 33 quantitative studies which considered family-related factors as risk and/or resource factors relevant to the acculturation and school adjustment of minority youth were selected for inclusion in the literature review. In a first step, the 33 studies were systematically categorized based on a qualitative content analysis, which identified family-related risk and resource factors. In a second step, the impact of these risk and resource factors on students’ school adjustment was analyzed through a meta-analysis. The qualitative content analysis identified four categories of parental risk respectively resource factors: parental acculturation, parental practices, parental attitudes, and parental background. The meta-analysis provided statistical combination of the results of these studies and yielded a quantified overall effect size along with an indication of the variability of effect sizes across studies (Cooper, 2010). Asa measure of effect size, we chose the correlation coefficient between parental risk respectively resource factors and students’ school adjustments. Fourteen studies provided correlation coefficients or comparisons of means between groups which could be converted into correlations. Five further studies provided regression coefficients from logistic or multiple linear regressions, where parental variables predicted youth adjustment, which we converted into correlation coefficients (Peterson & Brown, 2005). Overall, effect sizes could thus be extracted from 19 studies. Effect sizes were computed based on Hunter and Schmidt’s (2004) method, where we computed average effect sizes that were weighted by the sample size of the studies.
Overall, we extracted 161 effect sizes. Effect sizes were coded as a positive correlation if they were in the predicted direction and as negative if they were in the opposite direction. Specifically, we expected parental resource factor to positively correlate with minority students’ school adjustment and to negatively correlate with school maladjustment. Similarly, we expected parental risk factors to negatively correlate with student school adjustment and positively correlate with school maladjustment. Effect sizes ranged from r=-.15 (correlation in the direction opposite to the prediction) to r=.56 (a high correlation). The weighted average correlation across all studies was ρ=.13, which indicates a small effect size (Cohen, 1992). The average effect sizes computed based on correlations (ρ=.10) was similar to the average effect size based on regression coefficients (ρ=.15). The two were therefore combined. Exploring the operationalization of minority students’ school adjustment across the 19 studies, we found five operationalizations: 1) Well-being, 2) Sense of belonging, 3) Self-esteem and aspiration, 4) Positive behavior, 5) Academic performance and competence. Parental variables had the strongest effect on students’ self-esteem and aspirations (ρ=.27) and the weakest effect on students’ well-being (ρ=.08). Considering the four categories of parental variables separately, parental practices had the strongest effect on students’ school adjustment (ρ=.26), and parents’ attitudes (ρ=.05), and background (ρ=.08) had the weakest effect on minority students’ school adjustment. To conclude, this literature review identified parental acculturation, parental practices, parental attitudes, and parental background as family-related factors that affect minority students’ school adjustment in a range of areas. Findings suggest that parents can most strongly affect their children’s self-esteem and aspirations in school, and that parental practices predictor of youth’s school adjustment more strongly than parental background, acculturation, and attitudes. Further analyses that are currently underway will explore effects in more depth along with potential moderator variables.
Birman, D. (2006a). Acculturation gap and family adjustment: Findings with soviet Jewish refugees in the United States and implications for measurement. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 37, 568-589. Birman, D. (2006b). Measurement of the ‘acculturation gap’ in immigrant families and implications for parent-child relationships. In Bornstein, M. H. & Cote, L. R. (Eds.), Acculturation and parent-child relationships (pp. 113-134). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Birman, D., & Simon, C. D. (2014). Acculturation research: Challenges, complexities, and possibilities. In F. T. L. Leong, L. Comas-Díaz, G. C. Nagayama Hall, V. C. McLoyd, & J. E. Trimble (Eds.), APA handbook of multicultural psychology (pp. 207–230). Washington: APA. Castro, F. G. & Murray, K. E. (2010). Cultural adaptation and resilience. Controversies, issues, and emerging models. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra and J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 375–403). New York: The Guilford Press. Cooper, H. (2010). Research synthesis and meta-analysis. A step-by-step approach (4th Edition). Los Angeles: Sage. Cutmore, M., MacLeod, S., Donlevy, V., Spence C., Martin, A. & Collie, R. (2018). Against the Odds – Academically resilient students with a migrant background and how they succeed. Brussels: European Commission. Hunter, J. E. & Schmidt, F. L. (2004). Methods of meta-analysis: Correcting error and bias in research findings. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. García Coll, C. & Marks, A. K. (2012). The immigrant paradox in children and adolescents: Is becoming American a developmental risk? Washington: American Psychological Association. Makarova, E. & Birman, D. (2016). Minority students’ psychological adjustment in the school context: An integrative review of qualitative research on acculturation. Intercultural Education, 27(1), 1–21. Makarova, E. & Birman, D. (2015). Cultural transition and academic achievement of students from ethnic minority backgrounds: a content analysis of empirical research on acculturation. Educational Research, 57(3), 305-330. Peterson, R. A., & Brown, S. P. (2005). On the use of beta coefficients in meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 175-181. Phinney, J.S. & Vedder, P. (2006). Family relationship values of adolescents and parents: Intergenerational discrepancies and adaptation. In J. W. Berry, J. S. Phinney, S. Jean, D. L. Sam, & P. Vedder (Eds.), Immigrant youth in cultural transition: Acculturation, identity, and adaptation across national contexts (pp. 167-184). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Stuart, J., Ward, C., Jose, P. E. & Narayanan, P. (2010). Working with and for communities: A collaborative study of harmony and conflict in well-functioning, acculturating families. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34, 114-126.
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