Social Context as a Resource for Cultural Belonging and Adjustment: A Developmental Perspective on Cultural Minority Youth in Three European Countries

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal


Background: For cultural minority youth, being healthy and well-adjusted with a positive sense of cultural self are optimal conditions to engage in societal and political processes and promote positive intercultural relations. The first aim of this doctoral research was to provide a deeper understanding of risks and resources for cultural belonging and adjustment of cultural minority youth in microsystems (family, school, peers) and social-political contexts (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands). The second aim was to explore the relation between cultural belonging and adjustment over time. Methods: First, a qualitative study assessed Turkish-heritage young adults in Austria and their personal narratives of combining different cultural identities within and across social contexts. A two-wave longitudinal study used multigroup structural equation models to investigate how parents’ and schools’ acculturation expectations and ethnic discrimination related to early adolescents’ acculturation orientations in Germany. In the third study, cross-sectional path analyses tested cultural identity as mediator between peer cultural socialization (talking about culture with friends) and adjustment (life satisfaction, school values) of cultural minority mid adolescents in Germany. Finally, a three-wave longitudinal study investigated bidirectional effects of relationship quality, cultural belonging, and school adjustment of Moroccan-Dutch late adolescents. Results: The first study revealed that cultural belonging varied within and between social contexts, that social exclusion was perceived as risk and multicultural peer groups as resource for combining multiple cultural identities. The second study showed that girls and boys acculturated in line with perceived expectations in the family and school, and that boys were more susceptible than girls to risks in the public life domain (ethnic discrimination, school acculturation expectations). The third study revealed that youth’s cultural identification with the heritage and mainstream culture mediated the link between peer cultural socialization and adjustment. The fourth study showed that adolescents’ high levels of school functioning positively predicted perceived social support and adolescents’ Dutch orientation and that perceived parental support positively predicted adolescents’ heritage culture orientation. Conclusion: The results show that different social contexts can make unique and collective contributions to cultural belonging and positive adjustment. Cultural belonging and adjustment are likely to develop and influence each other reciprocally. Based on the results, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Psychology
  • Juang, Supervisor
  • Schachner, Supervisor
Award date30 Apr 2019
Place of PublicationPotsdam, Germany
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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