A Resilience Perspective on Immigrant Youth Adaptation and Development

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Handbook on Positive Development of Minority Children and Youth, Page: 19-34

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Frosso Motti-Stefanidi; Ann S. Masten
Springer Nature
Psychology; Social Sciences
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book chapter description
Immigrant youth comprise a sizable and integral part of contemporary societies. Their successful adaptation is a high-stakes issue for them, their families and for society. In spite of the challenges they face, most of them adapt well in their new countries. However, considerable diversity in their adaptation has been reported. This chapter examines the question: "Who among immigrant youth adapt well and why?" To address this question, first, we propose a definition for positive immigrant youth adaptation. Second, we present extant knowledge on group and individual differences in immigrant youth adaptation from the perspective of a resilience developmental framework, which incorporates acculturative and social psychological variables. Third, we examine whether immigrant status and related social challenges place immigrant youth adaptation at risk. Finally, we review social and personal resources that promote and/or protect positive immigrant youth adaptation. In conclusion, we argue that focusing on strengths and resilience, instead of on weaknesses and psychological symptoms, among immigrant youth has significant implications for policy and practice.