Being a Young Migrant in Italy: The Effect of Perceived Social Support in Adolescence

Author(s): Paola DALMASSO ; Alberto BORRACCINO ; Giacomo LAZZERI ; Lorena CHARRIER ; Paola BERCHIALLA ; Franco CAVALLO ; Patrizia LEMMA


Parental and peer support seems to be a favourable determining factor in the acculturation process among young immigrants. We aimed to assess the level of perceived support among first- and second-generation adolescent immigrants and compare it to that perceived by the adolescents from the host population. Using Italian HBSC survey data collected in 2013–2014, first- and second-generation immigrants aged 11, 13 and 15 years were classified according to their ethnic background as being from Western countries, Eastern European countries, or from non-Western/non-European countries. The domains of teacher, classmate, family, and peer support was measured through multidimensional, standardised, validated scales. Analyses were run on a 47,399 valid responses (2195 from Western countries, 2424 from Eastern European countries, and 2556 from non-Western/non-European countries). Adolescent immigrants from Eastern European countries and non-Western/non-European countries reported significantly lower support than their peers from the host population in all explored domains. Girls perceived a lower level of classmate and family support compared to boys across all ethnic backgrounds. We observed two different immigration patterns: the Western pattern, from more affluent countries, and the Eastern pattern. Among the latter, second-generation immigrants showed the lowest level of support in all domains. Increasing family connections and developing peer networks should favour the acculturation process among adolescent immigrants.


First and second generation immigrants, HBSC Peer support, Family support, Teacher support, ClassMate support 

Tags: Italy, Adolescents, Youth, First generation, Second generation, Families, Community, Social support

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