The Influence of Discrimination on Immigrant Adolescents ...

The Influence of Discrimination on Immigrant Adolescents ...

FRANCESCA CRISTINI, LUCA SCACCHI, DOUGLAS D. PERKINS, MASSIMO SANTINELLO, AND ALESSIO VIENO 245ly at risk for detrimental effects ong>ofong> discrimination, asstudies have found that first-generation immigrantsperceive more discrimination than do second-generationimmigrants (Juang & Cookston, 2009; Ying, Lee,& Tsai, 2000). For this reason in the present study wefocused on perceived discrimination and psychologicalwell-being ong>ofong> first-generation immigrant adolescents.Protective factors related to cultural identityIdentity development is a crucial developmentaltask during adolescence (Erikson, 1968). Additionally,for immigrant adolescents, a central question is theircapacity to negotiate their own identity between thehost and the original culture (Lafromboise et al.,1993). Cultural identity is the extent to which immigrantsidentify with their ethnic group and with thelarger society (Phinney, Berry, Vedder, & Liebkind,2006). It has roots in studies that have provided evidencefor a two-dimensional model ong>ofong> acculturation inwhich orientation toward ethnic/heritage versusnational/host values, practices and behaviors are consideredseparate dimensions. Cultural identity isindeed a broad term that includes both ethnic andnational identity (Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997).Ethnic identity refers to identification with one’sethnic group or culture ong>ofong> origin (Phinney et al., 2006).Recent models conceptualize ethnic identity as a bidimensional,dynamic construct (Sabatier, 2008) composedong>ofong> two dimensions: commitment (or affirmation)and exploration. Commitment is described as a senseong>ofong> belonging and as “strong attachment and a personalinvestment in a group”; exploration is defined as“seeking information and experiences relevant to one’sethnicity” (Phinney & Ong, 2007, pp. 272). Based onthis model, in the present study we considered bothethnic identity commitment and exploration.People need a strong sense ong>ofong> group identificationto maintain positive well-being as this identificationfulfills needs for meaning and belonging (Bettencourt& Dorr, 1997). Group identity is particularly beneficialfor members ong>ofong> groups that are devalued in society,such as ethnic minorities and immigrants. Ethnicidentity positively influences psychological adaptationong>ofong> immigrant adolescents (Kiang & Fuligni,2010; Mandara et al., 2009). Additionally some studiesshowed that group identification is a coping strategythat buffers the negative effects associated withethnic discrimination (Branscombe, Schmitt, &Harvey, 1999). As discussed by Tajfel and Turner(1986), the reinforcement ong>ofong> ethnic identity may be astrategy people use to cope with the consequences ong>ofong>being a member ong>ofong> a devalued group. For the currentstudy, we examine both the direct protective effectsand the moderating role ong>ofong> ethnic identity in the relationshipbetween discrimination and psychologicalwell-being.In comparison to the number ong>ofong> studies about ethnicidentity, less attention has been paid to national identity,or immigrants’ identification with their host society(Phinney et al., 2006). Recent models (Berry, Phinney,Sam, & Vedder, 2006; Bourhis, Barrette, El-Geledi, &Schmidt, 2009) suggest that a key task for immigrantsis their capacity to function in two cultures. For immigrantadolescents, adaptation is central to negotiatingtheir own identity in such a way that they both maintainlinks with their country ong>ofong> origin and achieve fullcitizenship and relationships with the host country(Lafromboise et al., 1993). Based on this evidence, inthe current study we assume that both ethnic andnational identity may positively influence psychologicaladaptation ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents and that bothmay buffer the detrimental effects ong>ofong> perceived discriminationon psychological adaptation.Protective factors related to social supportfrom schoolSchool is a relevant developmental context for adolescentsas getting along with teachers and peers andreporting positive involvement in school activities aremarkers ong>ofong> effective adaptation and ong>ofong> fulfillment ong>ofong>some ong>ofong> the developmental tasks ong>ofong> adolescence(Masten, Burt, & Coatsworth, 2006). Students with apositive perception ong>ofong> school and support from teachersand schoolmates reported fewer symptoms ong>ofong>depression and better social-emotional functioning(Galanaki, Polychronopoulou, & Babalis, 2008).Especially for immigrant adolescents, the school environmentmay be relevant to find supportive adult modelsand friendship with peers; school context may bealso the gateway to integration and development ong>ofong> asense ong>ofong> belonging in the new society; additionally thiscontext may be an influential source ong>ofong> strain or supportfor immigrant adolescents to cope with stressfullife events. As immigration and the settlement processcan change family structure, create differences inacculturation between parents and adolescents, impactparental ability to perform tasks ong>ofong> support and monitoring,and challenge the opportunity to rely on socialsupport from friends (Cristini, Vieno, Scacchi,Santinello, 2010; Walsh, Shulman, Bar-On, & Tsur,2006), school context may ong>ofong>fer source ong>ofong> social supportto cope with these difficulties. Congruently, recentresearch found that support within the school, in comparisonto that ong>ofong> parents and peers, had a greater influenceon mental health outcomes ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents(Walsh et al., 2010).School context may provide various forms ong>ofong> socialsupport that could have important benefits for psychologicaladaptation ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents: socialsupport from teachers, from schoolmates, and supportfor multiculturalism.Social support from teachers is related to increasedCopyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 - InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253

246 IMMIGRANT ADOLESCENTS, DISCRIMINATION, DEPRESSION & PROTECTIVE FACTORSlife satisfaction and decreased levels ong>ofong> depressivesymptoms (Cemalcilar, 2010; LaRusso, Romer, &Selman, 2008). In particular for immigrant adolescents,support from teachers had a stronger influenceon psychological well-being than did support fromfriends and parents (Walsh et al., 2010).Additionally, social support from schoolmates playsa significant role in adolescents’ psychological development.Negative relationships with schoolmates predictedmore depressive symptoms and lower selfesteeem(Loukas & Murphy, 2007; Lopez & DuBois,2005). Socially connected adolescents are more likelyto develop supportive relationships with pro-socialpeers and they may be less likely to develop emotionalproblems (Burton, Stice, & Seeley, 2004).Finally school support for multiculturalism plays arelevant role, as multiculturalism promotes flexibility,adaptability and empathy for others, fosters feelings ong>ofong>safety, improves intergroup relations (Juvonen,Nishina, & Graham, 2006), promotes appreciation ong>ofong>diverse viewpoints, and enhances tolerance ong>ofong> others(Kurlaender & Yun, 2002). Although many studieshave measured multiculturalism objectively (Juvonenet al., 2006), other studies examined the influence ong>ofong>perceived multiculturalism as subjectively reported bythe students (Le, Lai, & Wallen, 2009). From this perspective,perceived multiculturalism is defined as students’perceptions ong>ofong> how much cultural diversity, collaborationand participation ong>ofong> minority youth is valuedand encouraged in the school (Brand, Felner,Shim, Seitsinger, & Dumas, 2003). Perceived schoolmulticulturalism is positively related to psychologicaladaptation ong>ofong> immigrant youth (Le et al., 2009).Current studyong>Theong> aims ong>ofong> the present study were: to explore thelink between perceived discrimination and depressivesymptoms reported by immigrant adolescents in northernItaly; and to analyze the direct and moderating roleon this relationships ong>ofong> ethnic identity, national identity,social support from teachers and from schoolmates,and school support for multiculturalism.We hypothesized that perceived discrimination islinked with higher levels ong>ofong> depressive symptoms(Berkel et al., 2010; Huynh & Fuligni, 2010). Weexpected that ethnic identity (Mandara et al., 2009),national identity (Phinney et al., 2006), support fromteachers (Walsh et al., 2010), support from schoolmates(Loukas & Murphy, 2007) and support forschool multiculturalism (Le et al., 2009) positivelyinfluence psychological adaptation ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents.Additionally we hypothesized that culturalidentity and social support at school act as moderatingfactors in the relationship between perceived discriminationand psychological adaptation (Branscombe etal., 1999; Walsh et al., 2010).MethodParticipantsData were provided by 214 foreign-born adolescents1 (66.8% male; mean age = 17.56, S.D. = 1.58).Participants were from the first year (corresponding to9 th grade) to the fifth (last) year ong>ofong> an Italian highschool system. ong>Theong> sample was mainly composed ong>ofong>male students because we selected only technical,vocational and prong>ofong>essional high schools and theseschools in Italy are mainly attended by males. ong>Theong>sekinds ong>ofong> schools prepare learners for manual, trade, ortechnical jobs. We selected these kinds ong>ofong> high schoolsbecause in the Italian school system such schoolsreport a higher percentage ong>ofong> immigrant students.Other kinds ong>ofong> Italian high schools report only about2% immigrant students (Demaio, 2008), which wastoo few to justify their inclusion in this study.Data were collected in two small cities in NorthernItaly. Immigrant adolescents were from the followingareas: 37.3% European countries not included in theEU; 25.9% European countries included in the EUbetween 2004 and 2007; 15.2% Africa; 9.7% SouthAmerica; 8.1% Asia; 2.2% European countries includedin the EU before 2004. Countries where the mainpercentages ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents came from are:24.3% Romania, 17.3% Moldavia, 15.5% Albania,11.7% Morocco. All other countries are represented inour sample ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents with percentageslower than 4%.In the sample ong>ofong> 214 immigrant adolescents, father’seducation level varied with 43.7% not having completedhigh school, 37.3% having a high school or technicalschool diploma, and 19% having a college or graduatedegree. Mother’s education level varied with41.4% not having completed high school, 35% havinga high school diploma or a technical school diploma,and 23.6% having a college or graduate degree.MeasuresImmigrant status and demographics. Native orimmigrant status was based on the country where theadolescent was born. ong>Theong> demographics we analyzedwere gender, age, and family affluence. FamilyAffluences was measured by the Family AffluenceScale (FAS; Currie, Molcho, Boyce, Holstein,Torsheim, & Richter, 2008) which includes family carownership, unshared rooms, number ong>ofong> computers athome, and how many different times the family wenton holiday in the last 12 months. FAS was computed asthe sum ong>ofong> these indicators.Depressive symptoms. ong>Theong> Italian version ong>ofong> theCES-D Scale (Vieno, Kiesner, Pastore, & Santinello,2008) was used to assess the adolescents’ level ong>ofong> selfreporteddepressive symptoms. Previous studies havePsychosocial InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 -

FRANCESCA CRISTINI, LUCA SCACCHI, DOUGLAS D. PERKINS, MASSIMO SANTINELLO, AND ALESSIO VIENO 247reported sound psychometric properties when usingthe CES-D with immigrant populations (Grzywacz,Hovey, Seligman, Arcury, & Quandt, 2006). Fouritems were removed because, according to preliminaryprincipal component analyses, these items did not loadwell with the other 16 items. Examples ong>ofong> items are “Ifelt everything I did was an effort” and “I felt lonely”.Items required a response using a 4-point Likert scale1 = Never, or almost never, 4 = Frequently or always).Cronbach’s alpha was 0.92.Perceived discrimination. Perceived discriminationwas measured by the subscale ong>ofong> that name in theAcculturative Stress Inventory for Children (Suarez-Morales, Dillon & Szapocznik, 2007), which wasadapted slightly to clarify the focus ong>ofong> the presentstudy on ethnic group or nationality. ong>Theong> subscale iscomposed ong>ofong> eight items, such as “Because ong>ofong> my ethnicity,I feel others don’t include me in some ong>ofong> thethings they do, games they play, etc.”, “I feel bad whenothers make jokes about people who are in the sameethnic group as me.” Items were measured on a fivepointscale (1 = Never; 5 = Always). Cronbach’s alphawas 0.82.Social support at school. We analyzed three sourcesong>ofong> social support at school: support from teachers, supportfrom schoolmates, support for multiculturalism.Teacher support was measured by a four-item scale(Currie, Samdal, Boyce & Smith, 2001). A sample itemis “When I need extra help from my teachers I can getit”. Each item was measured on a five-point scale (1 =Do not agree at all; 5 = Very much agree). Cronbach’salpha was 0.74. Schoolmates’ support was measuredusing a three-item scale (Currie et al., 2001).Cronbach’s alpha was 0.75. A sample item is “Otherstudents accept me as I am.” Items were measured ona five-point scale (1 = Do not agree at all; 5 = Verymuch agree). Support for cultural pluralism at schoolwas measured by the apposite subscale ong>ofong> the“Inventory ong>ofong> School Climate-Student” (ISC-S; Brandet al., 2003). ong>Theong> subscale is composed ong>ofong> four items,such as “Students ong>ofong> many different races and culturesare chosen to participate in important school activities.”Items were measured on a four-point scale (1 =Never; 4 = Often). Cronbach’s alpha was 0.72.Cultural identity. We analyzed both ethnic identityand national identity. Ethnic identity was measured onthe six-item scale ong>ofong> Phinney and Ong (2007). It iscomposed ong>ofong> two dimensions, each measured by threeitems: exploration (e.g., “I have spent time trying tong>ofong>ind out more about my ethnic group, such as its history,traditions, and customs”) and commitment (e.g., “Ihave a strong sense ong>ofong> belonging to my own ethnicgroup”). Items were measured on a five-point scale (1= Do not agree at all; 5 = Very much agree).Cronbach’s alpha was 0.79 for the exploration dimensionand 0.92 for the commitment dimension. Nationalidentity was measured on the seven-item scale ong>ofong>Phinney & Devich-Navarro (1997). Examples ong>ofong> itemsare “I feel good about being Italian” and “I feel that Iam part ong>ofong> mainstream Italian culture.” Items weremeasured on a five-point scale (1 = Do not agree at all;5 = Very much agree). Cronbach’s alpha was 0.93.AnalysisBivariate correlations were analyzed between allstudy variables. Regression analyses were conductedto analyze the influence ong>ofong> discrimination, culturalidentity, and social support from school on depressivesymptoms. We added interaction terms between discrimination,cultural identity, and social support variablesto investigate moderation effects. For all independentmeasures (except for gender, age and immigrantstatus) uncentered variables were used (Cohen,Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003). Independent variableswere entered in the following blocks: 1) age, gender,FAS; 2) discrimination; 3) ethnic identity exploration,ethnic identity commitment, national identity; 4)teacher support, classmate support; school support formulticulturalism; 5) interaction terms between discrimination,identity and social support variables.Subsequently we deleted nonsignificant interactionterms from the model.ResultsTable 1 presents means, standard deviations, andcorrelations between depressive symptoms, perceiveddiscrimination, cultural identity, and social supportfrom school. Most ong>ofong> the correlations were lower than0.30, which we considered weak, as suggested byCohen (1988). Depressive symptoms showed a positivecorrelation with discrimination (r = 0.24; p < .01).Additionally, depressive symptoms were negativelycorrelated with social support from teachers (r = -0.23;p < .01), social support from schoolmates (r = -0.17;p < .05), and school support for multiculturalism (r = -0.16; p < .05). ong>Theong> measure ong>ofong> depressive symptomswas not significantly correlated with ethnic or nationalidentity.In addition to its relationship with depression, perceiveddiscrimination was also negatively correlatedwith national identity (r = -0.20; p < .01) and withclassmates’ support (r = -0.29; p < .001) and positivelycorrelated with ethnic identity exploration (r = 0.17;p < .05).Ethnic identity exploration and ethnic identity commitmentwere strongly and positively correlated (r =0.77; p < .01); the measure ong>ofong> national identity wasnegatively related to both ethnic identity exploration (r= -0.22; p < .01) and ethnic identity commitment (r = -0.31; p < .001). Both measures ong>ofong> ethnic identity werepositively related to teacher support (ethnic identityexploration: r = 0.28; p < .001; ethnic identity commit-Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 - InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253

248 IMMIGRANT ADOLESCENTS, DISCRIMINATION, DEPRESSION & PROTECTIVE FACTORSment: r = 0.19; p < .01). We found a positive correlationbetween ethnic identity exploration and school supportfor multiculturalism (r = 0.18; p < .05). Interestingly,national identity was positively related to classmatesupport (r = 0.19; p < .05). Finally, we found a positivecorrelation between teacher support and school supportfor multiculturalism (r = 0.28; p < .001).protective factor against depressive symptoms: socialsupport from teachers (B = -0.22; t = -3.29; p < .001).ong>Theong>se results confirmed the relevant role ong>ofong> schoolcontext and especially the role ong>ofong> support from adultsin this context.None ong>ofong> the interaction terms between discriminationand respectively ethnic identity, national identity,Table 1. Correlations and Descriptive Statistics for Study VariablesDepressive ong>Discriminationong> Ethnic Ethnic National Classmates Teacher Supportsymptoms identity identity identity support support forexploration commitment multiculturalismDepressive symptoms -ong>Discriminationong> 0.24 ** -Ethnic identity exploration -0.02 0.17 * -Ethnic identity commitment -0.07 0.13 0.77 ** -National identity -0.08 -0.20 ** -0.22 ** -0.31 *** -Classmates support -0.17 * -0.29 *** -0.07 -0.12 0.19 * -Teacher support -0.23 ** 0.01 0.28 *** 0.19 ** -0.07 0.17 * -Support for multiculturalism -0.16 * -0.04 0.18 * 0.13 -0.05 0.10 0.28 *** -M 1.73 2.39 3.38 3.67 2.37 3.51 3.12 2.47SD 0.62 0.84 1.01 1.13 1.05 0.84 0.84 0.76***p < .001; **p < .01; *p < .05.Results presented in Table 2 are unstandardizedregression coefficients with standard errors in parentheses.All blocks ong>ofong> variables, except the cultural identitymeasures, made a unique contribution in explainingvariability in depressive symptoms. ong>Theong> finalmodel explained 25% ong>ofong> the variance in depressivesymptoms. Results ong>ofong> the last model showed that, controllingfor the influence ong>ofong> gender (B = 0.50; t = 4.91;p < .001) and the other demographics and predictors ong>ofong>depression, discrimination is associated with moredepressive symptoms (B = 0.19; t = 2.88; p < .01).Only one ong>ofong> the analyzed variables played the role ong>ofong>support from teachers, from classmates and for multiculturalismwere statistically significant, so we deletedthe interaction terms from the final model. None ong>ofong>these variables indeed played the role ong>ofong> moderatingfactors in the relationship between discrimination anddepressive symptoms.Discussionong>Theong> present study examined the link between perceiveddiscrimination and depressive symptomsTable 2. Multiple Regression Models Predicting Depressive Symptoms ong>ofong> Immigrant AdolescentsStep 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4B (S.E.) t B (S.E.) t B (S.E.) t B (S.E.) tFemale 0.49 (0.11) 4.63*** 0.52 (0.10) 5.01*** 0.54 (0.11) 5.12*** 0.50 (0.10) 4.91***Age -0.02 (0.03) -0.65 -0.01 (0.03) -0.36 -0.01 (0.03) -0.37 -0.02 (0.03) -0.75FAS -0.05 (0.03) -1.69 -0.02 (0.03) -0.70 -0.02 (0.03) -0.71 -0.02 (0.03) -0.48ong>Discriminationong> 0.18 (0.06) 2.82** 0.18 (0.07) 2.66** 0.19 (0.06) 2.88**Ethnic identity exploration 0.04 (0.08) 0.42 0.11 (0.09) 1.30Ethnic identity commitment -0.10 (0.07) -1.42 -0.13 (0.07) -1.84National identity - 0.04 (0.05) -0.80 -0.06 (0.05) -1.06Classmates support 0.03 (0.07) 0.42Teacher support -0.22 (0.07) -3.29**Support for multiculturalism 0.04 (0.07 0.51R 2 0.17 0.22 0.24 0.31Adjusted R 2 0.15 0.19 0.20 0.25∆R 2 (∆F; p) 0.17 (8.00; p < .001) 0.05 (7.96; p < .01) 0.02 (1.08; N.S.) 0.07 (3.66; p < .05)***p < .001; **p < .01; *p < .05Psychosocial InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 -

FRANCESCA CRISTINI, LUCA SCACCHI, DOUGLAS D. PERKINS, MASSIMO SANTINELLO, AND ALESSIO VIENO 249reported by immigrant adolescents (Huynh & Fuligni,2010); additionally we analyzed whether cultural identity(Kiang & Fuligni, 2010; Berry et al., 2006) anddifferent forms ong>ofong> social support from school act asprotective factors against depression and as moderatorsin the relationship between discrimination anddepression (Branscombe et al., 1999; Walsh et al.,2010). In sum, the current study has shown that perceiveddiscrimination has a significant detrimentaleffect on the psychological well-being and that theonly significantly protective factor for psychologicalwell-being ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents, among the analyzedvariables concerning cultural identity and schoolsocial support, was support from>Discriminationong> is a relevant harmful factor to considerin the development ong>ofong> ethnic minority and immigrantadolescents (Garcia Coll et al., 1996).Experiencing discrimination may be prong>ofong>oundly damagingfor the psychological adaptation ong>ofong> immigrants,especially during adolescence because youth ong>ofong>tenhave fewer or less structured coping strategies to dealwith stressors in comparison to adults (Garnefski,Legerstee, Kraaij, van de Kommer, & Teerds, 2002).Further, previous studies report that stressful lifeevents, such as discrimination, tend to be more frequentin ethnic minority and younger age groups(Hatch & Dohrenwend, 2007). Indeed, immigrant adolescentsrepresent a target with very high risk for discriminationand its detrimental effects.Our most encouraging result was that social supportfrom teachers appears to play an important protectiverole for the psychological adaptation ong>ofong> immigrantadolescents (Walsh et al., 2010). Immigrant adolescentsreporting more teacher support were significantlyless depressed (LaRusso et al., 2008). Supportiverelationships with non-parental adults provide esteem,guidance, and encouragement and may help protectyouth from negative outcomes (Hurd & Zimmerman,2010). This protective influence ong>ofong> social support fromteachers may be especially influential for immigrantyouth as the immigration and settlement process candisrupt other forms ong>ofong> social support from friends, parentsand extended family members (Walsh et al.,2006). For immigrant adolescents, it may be harder tong>ofong>ind friends who share their ethnicity and to build positiverelationships with peers (Hamm, 2000). Indeed,immigrant adolescents may need to rely on forms ong>ofong>social support other than parental and peer support,such as social support from teachers. Additionally,teachers’ social support may provide an important,positive counterbalance in the host society whereimmigrant adolescents experience discrimination, lackong>ofong> acceptance, and prejudice. ong>Discriminationong> impliesmany barriers to establish ties with the receiving society,such as the communication ong>ofong> negative messagesregarding their ethnicity and their identity, the feelingong>ofong> being rejected, unfair treatment daily, the developmentong>ofong> insecurity and low self-esteem. Given thisassaultive immigrant experience, a strong bonding andsocial support from teachers ong>ofong>fer a safe haven, asecure place where immigrant adolescents feel acceptance,respect and sympathy.Regarding the influence ong>ofong> cultural identity on psychologicalproblems, contrary to our hypothesis(Kiang & Fuligni, 2010), the present study showed thatdepressive symptoms were not significantly related toethnic and national identity. Both regression and correlationanalyses confirmed these results. Most ong>ofong> theprevious literature focused on ethnic identity showedits protective role against psychological problems(Kiang & Fuligni, 2010; Mandara et al., 2009). One ong>ofong>the few studies that analyzed the role ong>ofong> national identityfound that high levels ong>ofong> both national and ethnicidentity was associated with greater psychologicaladaptation (Berry et al., 2006).Although results ong>ofong> the current study are inconsistentwith previous research that has found culturalidentity to be protective for immigrant adolescents’psychological well-being, our results are consistentwith other research that has found ethnic identity to notbe significantly related to depression and anxiety(Caldwell, Zimmerman, Bernat, Sellers, & Notaro,2002; Sellers, Copeland-Linder, Martin, & Lewis,2006). Some authors argued that much ong>ofong> the inconsistencyin results regarding the influence ong>ofong> ethnic identityon mental health may be explained by the differentmeasures used to assess ethnic identity; especially bydifferent results emerging for ethnic identity explorationand ethnic identity affirmation (Helms, 2007).However, in the present study we used both ong>ofong> thesesubscales and neither ong>ofong> them showed a significantrelationship with depressive symptoms. Some authorshave argued that other variables, such as self-esteem,may account for the effects ong>ofong> ethnic identity on mentalhealth (Mandara et al., 2009). Future studies shouldanalyze the role ong>ofong> levels and sources ong>ofong> self-esteem inthe relationship between ethnic identity and depressivesymptoms.Finally, other factors related to the composition ong>ofong>the immigrant sample may explain the failure to findthis hypothesized relationship. Our sample is highlydiverse as immigrants came from many different countriesand they live in two different Italian cities. ong>Theong>ymay feel different cultural distances between the societyong>ofong> origin and the receiving society. ong>Theong>y may alsong>ofong>eel different levels ong>ofong> discrimination and devaluationas some immigrant groups in Italy are viewed morenegatively than others. We do not know how longimmigrants in our sample had resided in Italy, but it ispossible that they may be at different stages ong>ofong> adaptationto the host society. Any ong>ofong> these factors mayexplain the lack ong>ofong> relationship between ethnic identityand depressive>Theong> final objective ong>ofong> the present study was to findpossible moderators ong>ofong> the relationship between discriminationand depressive symptoms. Results ong>ofong> theCopyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 - InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253

250 IMMIGRANT ADOLESCENTS, DISCRIMINATION, DEPRESSION & PROTECTIVE FACTORSregression model showed that none ong>ofong> the analyzedvariables (ethnic identity, national identity, supportfrom teachers, from classmates and for multiculturalism)moderated the relationship between discriminationand depressive symptoms. Some authors havehypothesized that the moderating role ong>ofong> ethnic identitymay depend on the extent to which discrimination isa part ong>ofong> one’s ethnic identity. For example, ethnicidentity ong>ofong> African Americans is tied to a long historyong>ofong> discrimination and prejudice. ong>Theong> identity ong>ofong> otherethnic minority groups may be less protective againstthe detrimental effect ong>ofong> discrimination if their ethnicidentity is not based as strongly on this factor (Yoo &Lee, 2005). An additional explanation for the lack ong>ofong>moderation effect by ethnic and national identity maybe the ambiguous directionality ong>ofong> the relationshipbetween discrimination and cultural identity. On onehand, the perception ong>ofong> discrimination may strengthenethnic identity and weaken national identity(Branscombe et al., 1999); on the other hand, ethnicidentity exploration and discussion with parents andpeers about race and ethnicity may make youth moreaware ong>ofong> discrimination and, indeed, they may perceivemore discrimination (Huynh & Fuligni, 2010).Thus, cultural identity may be associated with discrimination,but may not buffer its detrimental effect onpsychological well-being. Additionally, it may be thatspecific cultural identity prong>ofong>iles, not the single components,buffer the harmful effect ong>ofong> discrimination(Berry et al., 2006). Another explanation for the lack ong>ofong>moderation effect by all analyzed variables may be thatdiscrimination has such a strong and detrimental effectthat none ong>ofong> the examined factors are able to buffer itseffect on our sample (Brondolo, ver Halen, Pencille,Beatty, & Contrada, 2009). Finally, as with the maineffect ong>ofong> cultural identity on psychological well-being,other factors related to the composition ong>ofong> our immigrantsample may explain the failure to find thehypothesized moderator role ong>ofong> cultural identity:immigrants are part ong>ofong> different ethnic groups, theylive in two different host cities, they may have lived inItaly for different lengths ong>ofong> time. Indeed, distancebetween original and host cultures may confuse themoderating role ong>ofong> cultural identity. Future studiesshould test the effect ong>ofong> these factors to analyze themoderating role ong>ofong> cultural identity on the relationshipbetween discrimination and depressive symptoms.One major limitation ong>ofong> the current study is thecross-sectional and correlational nature ong>ofong> the data andanalysis. Longitudinal assessments are necessary tosupport a causal interpretation. In addition, due to thelimited sample size, we could not analyze our hypothesesdistinguishing between specific immigrant groups,based on ethnicity or country ong>ofong> origin. Future researchis needed to replicate our findings in specific minorityor immigrant groups. A further limitation is that werelied entirely on self-report measures by students.Future studies should also include objective data andinformation from teachers and parents. ong>Theong> presentsample was predominantly male and may not generalizeto females or immigrants outside ong>ofong> northern Italy.A final limitation is due to the use ong>ofong> an index ong>ofong>depressive symptoms on a normal population, whichresults in low levels ong>ofong> symptoms.Nonetheless, results ong>ofong> the present study highlight atleast two relevant factors in the lives ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents:the detrimental effect ong>ofong> discrimination onpsychological well-being and the pivotal role ong>ofong> socialsupport from teachers to enhance the psychologicalwell-being ong>ofong> immigrant>Theong>se results have important implications for educationand society. Regarding perceived discrimination,results ong>ofong> the current study suggest that programsdesigned to improve integration and psychologicaladaptation ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents should includestrategies to reduce discrimination; these strategiesshould act on multiple levels, from individual teachersto schools and school systems to the societal level, andpromote structural changes in contexts such as schools,employment, and communities. Prevention programsfor ethnic minority youth must invest resources inundoing the negative effects ong>ofong> discrimination andracism (Murry, Berkel, Brody, Gerrard, & Gibbons,2007). Future studies need to identify effective largescaleprograms and policies to reduce prejudice anddiscrimination that sustain disparities among immigrantadolescents and their families. In addition tothese practices at a contextual level, future researchshould aim to detect individual-level variables that canbuffer the detrimental effects ong>ofong> discrimination. Indeedit should be possible to join contextual practices toreduce discrimination and strategies to promote individualprotective factors and help adolescents dealingwith personal experiences ong>ofong> discrimination.With regard to school environment, our results confirmedthe pivotal role ong>ofong> this context and especially ong>ofong>the quality ong>ofong> teacher-student relationships. ong>Theong> schoolenvironment may be a safe place where immigrantadolescents experience integration and develop a senseong>ofong> belonging in the new society. Results on the protectiverole ong>ofong> teachers’ support point to the importance ong>ofong>educating teachers about their critical role in the livesong>ofong> immigrant adolescents, about cultural sensitivity,and about pluralistic approaches to teaching and mentoringimmigrant adolescents. Additionally, resultssuggest aiming intervention strategies at promotingpsychological well-being by enhancing the supportprovided by significant adults within the school context.For example, by improving teachers’ competenceto communicate with, and support, immigrant adolescentsand their families, and teachers’ sensitivity andability to monitor and interpret possible signs ong>ofong> discriminationand psychological unease ong>ofong> immigrantadolescents, teachers can help immigrant adolescentsin their process ong>ofong> integration not only in the classroombut also in their new society. As immigrant populationsPsychosocial InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 -

FRANCESCA CRISTINI, LUCA SCACCHI, DOUGLAS D. PERKINS, MASSIMO SANTINELLO, AND ALESSIO VIENO 251worldwide grow rapidly and immigrant adolescentsare exposed to life circumstances and stressors thatmay put them at risk for poor psychological adjustment(Bacallao & Smokowski, 2007), understanding therole ong>ofong> protective factors within schools and communitiesis central to support immigrant adolescents in thechallenging process ong>ofong> settlement in a new society.This knowledge will facilitate the identification ong>ofong>effective practices, programs and policies to promotepositive development ong>ofong> this growing part ong>ofong> the youthpopulation.ReferencesBacallao, M. L. & Smokowski, P.R. (2007). ong>Theong> costs ong>ofong> gettingahead: Mexican family system changes after immigration.Family Relations, 56, 52-66.Blank, R. M., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. F. (Eds.). (2004).Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: ong>Theong>National Academies Press.Benner, A. D. & Kim, S. Y. (2009). Experiences ong>ofong> discriminationamong Chinese American adolescents and theconsequences for socioemotional and academic development.Developmental Psychology, 45, 1682-1694.Berkel, C., Knight, G. P., Zeiders, K. H., Tein, J. Y., Roosa,M. W., Gonzales, N. A., & Saenz, D. (2010).ong>Discriminationong> and adjustment for Mexican Americanadolescents: A prospective examination ong>ofong> the benefits ong>ofong>culturally related values. Journal ong>ofong> Research onAdolescence, 20, 893-915.Berry, J. W., Kim, U., Minde, T., & Mok, D. (1987).Comparative studies ong>ofong> acculturative stress. ong>Theong>International Migration Review, 1, 491-511.Berry, J. W. (2003). Conceptual approaches to acculturation.In K. Chun, P. Balls-Organista, & G. Marin (Eds.),Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement andapplied research (pp. 17-37). Washington, DC: APAPress.Berry J. W., Phinney J. S., Sam D. L., and Vedder P. (2006).Immigrant youth: Acculturation, identity, and adaptation.Applied Psychology: An International Review, 55, 303-332.Bettencourt, B. A. & Dorr, N. (1997). Collective self-esteemas a mediator ong>ofong> the relationship between allocentrismand subjective well-being. Personality and SocialPsychology Bulletin, 23, 955-964.Bourhis R. Y., Barrette G., El-Geledi S. and Schmidt R.S.(2009). Acculturation orientations and social relationsbetween immigrant and host community members inCalifornia. Journal ong>ofong> Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40,443-467.Brand, S., Felner, R. D., Shim, M., Seitsinger, A., & Dumas,T. (2003). Middle school improvement and reform:Development and validation ong>ofong> a school-level assessmentong>ofong> climate, cultural pluralism and school safety. Journalong>ofong> Educational Psychology, 95, 570-588.Branscombe, N. R., Schmitt M. T., & Harvey R. D. (1999).Perceiving pervasive discrimination among AfricanAmericans: Implications for group identification andwell-being. Journal ong>ofong> Personality and Social Psychology,77, 135-149.Brondolo, E., ver Halen, N. B., Pencille, M., Beatty, D., &Contrada, R. J. (2009). Coping with racism: A selectivereview ong>ofong> the literature and a theoretical and methodologicalcritique. Journal ong>ofong> Behavioral Medicine, 32, 64-88.Burton, E., Stice, E., & Seeley, J. R (2004). Prospective testong>ofong> the stress-buffering model ong>ofong> depression in adolescentgirls: No support once again. Journal ong>ofong> Consulting andClinical Psychology, 72, 689-697.Caldwell, C. H., Zimmerman, M. A., Bernat, D. H., Sellers,R. M., & Notaro, P. C. (2002). Racial identity, maternalsupport, and psychological distress among AfricanAmerican adolescents. Child Development, 73, 1322-1336.Cemalcilar Z. (2010). Schools as socialization contexts:understanding the impact ong>ofong> school climate factors on students’sense ong>ofong> school belonging. Applied Psychology: AnInternational Review, 59, 243-272.Cohen J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for theBehavioral Sciences (second ed.). Lawrence ErlbaumAssociates.Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003).Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for thebehavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: LawrenceErlbaum Associates Publishers.Cristini, F., Vieno, A., Scacchi, L., & Santinello, M. (2010).Migrant families and adolescence: parenting style, internalizationand externalization problems [Famigliemigranti e adolescenza: stili genitoriali e problemi diinternalizzazione ed esternalizzazione]. Journal ong>ofong>Family Studies [Rivista di Studi Familiari], 2, 60-81.Crockett, L. J., Iturbide, M. I., Torres Stone, R. A.,McGinley, M., Raffaelli, M., & Carlo, G. (2007).Acculturative stress, social support, and coping:Relations to psychological adjustment among MexicanAmerican college students. Cultural Diversity and EthnicMinority Psychology, 13, 347-355.Currie, C., Molcho, M., Boyce, W., Holstein, B., Torsheim,T., & Richter, M. (2008). Researching health inequalitiesin adolescents: ong>Theong> development ong>ofong> the HBSC FamilyAffluence Scale. Social Science & Medicine, 66, 1429-1436.Currie, C., Samdal, O., Boyce, W., & Smith, R. (Eds.),(2001). Health Behaviour in School-aged Children: AWHO Cross-National Study (HBSC), Research Protocolfor the 2001/2002 Survey. Child and Adolescent HealthResearch Unit (CAHRU), University ong>ofong> Edinburgh.Demaio, G. (2008). Gli studenti di cittadinanza estera inItalia [Foreign students in Italy]. In Caritas/Migrantes(Eds.), Immigrazione: dossier statistico 2008, XVIII rapporto[Immigration: Statistical dossier 2008, XVIIIreport], (pp. 239-247). Rome: Edizioni Idos.Edwards, L. M., & Romero, A. J. (2008). Coping with discriminationamong Mexican descent adolescents.Hispanic Journal ong>ofong> Behavioral Science, 30, 24-39.Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 - InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253

252 IMMIGRANT ADOLESCENTS, DISCRIMINATION, DEPRESSION & PROTECTIVE FACTORSErikson, E. (1968). Identity, youth and crisis. New York:Norton and Co.Fuertes, J. & Westbrook, F. (1996). Using the social, attitudinal,familial, and environmental (S.A.F.E.) acculturationstress scale. Measurement & Evaluation in Counseling& Development, 29(2), 67-76.Galanaki, E. P., Polychronopoulou, S. A., & Babalis, T. K.(2008). Loneliness and social dissatisfaction amongbehaviourally at-risk children. School PsychologyInternational, 29, 214-229.Garcia Coll, C., Crnic, K., Lamberty, G., Wasik, B. H.,Jenkins, R., Vazquez Garcia, H., & McAdoo, H. P.(1996). An integrative model for the study ong>ofong> developmentalcompetencies in minority children. ChildDevelopment, 67, 1891-1914.Garnefski, N., Legerstee, J., Kraaij, V., van de Kommer, T.,& Teerds, J. (2002). Cognitive coping strategies andsymptoms ong>ofong> depression and anxiety: A comparisonbetween adolescents and adults. Journal ong>ofong> Adolescence,5, 603-611.Grzywacz, J. G., Hovey, J. D., Seligman, L. D., Arcury, T.A., & Quandt, S.A. (2006). Evaluating short-form versionsong>ofong> the CES-D for measuring depressive symptomsamong immigrant Latinos. Hispanic Journal ong>ofong>Behavioral Sciences, 28, 404-424.Hamm, J. V. (2000). Do birds ong>ofong> a feather flock togeher?ong>Theong> variable bases for African, American, AsianAmerican, and European American adolescents’ selectionong>ofong> similar friends. Developmental Psychology, 36, 209-219.Hatch, S. L. & Dohrenwend, B. P. (2007). Distribution ong>ofong>traumatic and other stressful life events by race/ethnicity,gender, SES and age: A review ong>ofong> the research. AmericanJournal ong>ofong> Community Psychology, 40, 313-332.Helms, J. E. (2007). Some better practices for measuringracial and ethnic identity constructs. Journal ong>ofong>Counseling Psychology, 54, 235-246.Heyfron, J. E. (2006). Immigrants in the labour market. In D.L. Sam & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook ong>ofong>Acculturation Psychology (pp. 439-451). Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press.Huynh, V. W. & Fuligni, A. J. (2010). ong>Discriminationong> hurts:ong>Theong> academic, psychological, and physical well-being ong>ofong>adolescents. Journal ong>ofong> Research on Adolescence, 20,916-941.Hurd, N. M. & Zimmerman, M. A. (2010). Natural mentors,mental health, and risk behaviors: A longitudinal analysisong>ofong> African American adolescents transitioning into adulthood.American Journal ong>ofong> Community Psychology, 46,36-48.Juang, L. P., & Cookston J. T. (2009). Acculturation, discrimination,and depressive symptoms among ChineseAmerican adolescents: A longitudinal study. ong>Theong> Journalong>ofong> Primary Prevention, 30, 475-496.Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2006). Ethnic diversityand perceptions ong>ofong> safety in urban middle schools.Psychological Science, 17, 393-400.Kiang, L. & Fuligni, A. J. (2010). Meaning in life as a mediatorong>ofong> ethnic identity and adjustment among adolescentsfrom Latin, Asian, and European American backgrounds.Journal ong>ofong> Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1253-1264.Kurlaender, M., & Yun, J. T. (2002). ong>Theong> impact ong>ofong> racialand ethnic diversity on educational outcomes: Cambridge,MA school district. Cambridge, MA: ong>Theong> CivilRights Project, Harvard University.LaFromboise, T., Coleman, H. L. K., & Gerton, J. (1993).Psychological impact ong>ofong> biculturalism: Evidence andtheory. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 395-412.LaRusso, M. D., Romer, D., & Selman, R. L. (2008).Teachers as builders ong>ofong> respectful school climates:Implications for adolescent drug use norms and depressivesymptoms in high school. Journal ong>ofong> Youth andAdolescence, 37(4), 386-398.Le, T. N., Lai, M. H., & Wallen, J. (2009). Multiculturalismand subjective happiness as mediated by cultural and relationalvariables. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic MinorityPsychology, 15, 303-313.Lopez, C. & DuBois, D. L. (2005). Peer victimization andrejection: investigation ong>ofong> an integrative model ong>ofong> effectson emotional, behavioural, and academic adjustment inearly adolescence. Journal ong>ofong> Clinical Child and AdolescentPsychology, 34, 25-36.Loukas, A. & Murphy, J. L. (2007). Middle school studentperceptions ong>ofong> school climate: Examining protectivefunctions on subsequent adjustment problems. Journal ong>ofong>School Psychology, 45, 293-309.Mandara, J., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Richards, M. H., &Ragsdale, B. L. (2009). ong>Theong> effects ong>ofong> changes in racialidentity and self-esteem on changes in African Americanadolescents’ mental health. Child Development, 80, 1660-1675.Masten, A. S., Burt, K. B., & Coatsworth, J. D. (2006).Competence and psychopathology in development. In D.Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental Psychopathology:Vol. 3. Risk, disorder and psychopathology (2nded., pp. 696-738). New York: Wiley.Molcho, M., Cristini, F., Nic Gabhainn, S., Santinello, M.,Moreno, C., Gaspar de Matos, M., ... Due, P. (2010).Health and well-being among child immigrants inEurope. Eurohealth, 16, 20-23.Murry, V. M., Berkel, C., Brody, G. H., Gerrard, M., &Gibbons, F. X. (2007). ong>Theong> Strong African AmericanFamilies program: Longitudinal pathways to sexual riskreduction. Journal ong>ofong> Adolescent Health, 41, 333-342.Pascoe, E. A., & Smart Richman, L. (2009). Perceived discriminationand health: a meta-analytic review.Psychological Bulletin, 135, 531-554.Phinney, J. S., Berry, J. W., Vedder, P., & Liebkind, K.(2006). ong>Theong> acculturation experience: Attitudes, identitiesand behaviors ong>ofong> immigrant youth. In J. W. Berry, J. S.Phinney, D. L. Sam, & P. Vedder (Eds.), Migrant youth incultural transition: Acculturation, identity, and adaptationacross national contexts (pp. 71-116). Mahwah, NewJersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.Phinney, J. S., & Devich-Navarro, M. (1997). Variations inbicultural identification among African American andPsychosocial InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 -

FRANCESCA CRISTINI, LUCA SCACCHI, DOUGLAS D. PERKINS, MASSIMO SANTINELLO, AND ALESSIO VIENO 253Mexican American adolescents. Journal ong>ofong> Research onAdolescence, 7, 3-32.Phinney J. S. & Ong, A.D. (2007). Conceptualization andmeasurement ong>ofong> ethnic identity: Current status and futuredirections. Journal ong>ofong> Counseling Psychology, 54, 271-281.Romero, A. J., Carvajal, S. C., Volle, F., & Orduña, M.(2007). Adolescent bicultural stress and its impact onmental well-being among Latinos, Asian Americans, andEuropean Americans. Journal ong>ofong> Community Psychology,35, 519-534.Sabatier, C. (2008). Ethnic and national identity among secondgeneration immigrant adolescents in France: ong>Theong> roleong>ofong> social context and family. Journal ong>ofong> Adolescence, 31,185-205.Sellers, R. M., Copeland-Linder, N., Martin, P. P., & Lewis,R. L. (2006). Racial identity matters: ong>Theong> relationshipbetween racial discrimination and psychological functioningin African American adolescents. Journal ong>ofong>Research on Adolescence, 16, 187-216.Smetana J. G., Campione-Barr N., & Metzger A. (2006).Adolescent development in interpersonal and societalcontexts. Annual Review ong>ofong> Psychology, 57, 255-284.Smokowski, P. R., Bacallao, M., Buchanan, R. L. (2009).Interpersonal mediators linking acculturation stressors tosubsequent internalizing symptoms and self-esteem inlatino adolescents. Journal ong>ofong> Community Psychology, 37,1024-1045.Suarez-Morales, L., Dillon, F.R., & Szapocznik, J. (2007).Validation ong>ofong> the Acculturative Stress Inventory forChildren. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic MinorityPsychology, 13, 216-224.Suarez-Morales, L., & Lopez, B. (2009). ong>Theong> impact ong>ofong>acculturative stress and daily hassles on pre-adolescentpsychological adjustment: Examining anxiety symptoms.Journal ong>ofong> Primary Prevention, 30, 335-349.Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. C. (1986). An integrative theory ong>ofong>intergroup conflict. In S. Worchel & W. Austin (Eds.),Psychology ong>ofong> intergroup relations (pp. 2-24). Chicago:Nelson-Hall.Vieno, A., Kiesner, J., Pastore, M., Santinello, M. (2008).Antisocial behavior and depressive symptoms:Longitudinal and concurrent relations. Adolescence,43(171), 649-660.Vieno, A., Santinello, M., Lenzi, M., Baldassari, D., &Mirandola M. (2009). Health status in immigrants andnative early adolescents in Italy. Journal ong>ofong> CommunityHealth, 34, 181-187.Walsh, S. D., Harel-Fisch, Y., & Fogel-Grinvald, H. (2010).Parents, teachers and peer relations as predictors ong>ofong> riskbehaviors and mental well-being among immigrant andIsraeli born adolescents. Social Science & Medicine, 70,976-984.Walsh, S., Shulman, S., Bar-On, Z., & Tsur, A. (2006). ong>Theong>role ong>ofong> parentification and family climate in adaptationamong immigrant adolescents in Israel. Journal ong>ofong>Research on Adolescence, 16, 321-349.Ward, C., Bochner, S., & Furnham, A. (2001). ong>Theong> psychologyong>ofong> culture shock (2nd ed.). Hove, UK: Routledge.Ying, Y. W., Lee, P., & Tsai, J. (2000). Cultural orientationand racial discrimination: Predictors ong>ofong> coherence inChinese American young adults. Journal ong>ofong> CommunityPsychology, 28(4), 427-442.Yoo, H. C. & Lee, R. M. (2005). Ethnic identity andapproach-type coping as moderators ong>ofong> racial discrimination/well-beingrelation in Asian Americans. Journal ong>ofong>Counseling Psychology, 52, 497-550.Notes1 This sample ong>ofong> immigrant adolescents is part ong>ofong> a sample ong>ofong> 2533immigrant and non immigrant adolescents attending high schools in twocities in northern Italy (66.7% male; mean age = 17.26, S.D. = 1.63).ong>Theong>y were selected for a larger research to study immigrant adolescentsadaptation and to compare developmental outcomes ong>ofong> immigrant andnon immigrant adolescents.Manuscript received: 10/01/2011Review received: 21/07/2011Accepted: 09/08/2011Copyright 2011 by the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de MadridISSN: 1132-0559 - InterventionVol. 20, No. 3, 2011 - pp. 243-253

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines