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Social Integration of Migrant Children: Uncovering Family and School Factors Promoting Resilience

Project Summary

The main objective of the proposed research is to uncover the processes underlying developmental resilience in children from immigrant families during the transitions to primary and secondary education in three European countries. We will examine these processes on the level of the individual, the family, the school, and the community. By comparing children in Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, the study will also elucidate the impact of broader societal influences. In a longitudinal cohort design based on the two school transitions, we will study 880 migrant families with origins in Turkey and 420 non-migrant families allowing for within- and across- country comparisons. For the primary school transition, 120 children from Turkish migrant families and 60 children from non-migrant families (cohort 1) will be assessed at ages 5, 6, and 7 years in each country. For the secondary school transition, the same will be done in a second cohort of children at ages 12, 13, and 14 years. Because this transition takes place earlier in Germany, this country will have an extra cohort assessed at ages 9, 10, and 11 years. At each assessment, variables from all levels of functioning will be measured using multiple methods (observations, interviews, tests, and surveys), obtained from multiple sources (children, parents, and teachers). Mastering major educational transitions is a critical indicator of social integration and is related to individual psychosocial adaptation. Elucidating the processes underlying migrant children’s adaptation to these transitions will provide insights for theories of child development in general, and theories of resilience in migrant children in particular. These insights can be translated into recommendations for suitable ways to support migrant parents, to organise the educational system to foster equal opportunities for children from migrant families, and to construct policies that will facilitate the overall societal success of migrant families.

Project Personnel

Participants Name Institution Country
Principal Investigator Birgit Leyendecker Ruhr University Bochum Germany
Co-Applicant Judi Mesman Leiden University The Netherlands
Co-Applicant Brit Oppedal Norwegian Institute of Public Health Norway