Is There a Paradox of Adaptation in Immigrant Children and Youth across Europe? A Literature Review

Radosveta Dimitrova, Sevgi Bayram Özdemir, Diana Farcas, Marianna Kosic, S. Mastrotheodoros, Justyna Michalek, Delia Stefenel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This review examines how well children of immigrants in Europe are doing in terms of educational, psychological, and behavioral outcomes. Based on theory and research in developmental, social and acculturation psychology fields, we explore the immigrant paradox (e.g., first-generation immigrant children show better adaptation in comparison to their native and second-generation counterparts) and migration morbidity (e.g., immigrants display less favorable outcomes than natives) in 102 studies conducted in 14 European countries. We conclude that theoretical assumptions of developmental (e.g., promoting context in families, schools, neighborhoods), social (e.g., intercultural behaviors and attitudes, lack of discrimination) and acculturation psychology (e.g., cultural maintenance and adoption, biculturalism) are powerful constituents for optimal adaptation of immigrant children and youth. Taken together, these constituents should guide policies and programs targeting optimal outcomes for children of immigrants. A discussion within empirically based policy practices to promote positive outcomes of young immigrant populations in Europe is offered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-Being of Youth and Emerging Adults across Cultures
EditorsRadosveta Dimitrova
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-68363-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-68362-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameCross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology
ISSN (Print)2210-5417


  • Immigrant children and youth
  • Europe
  • Immigrant paradox
  • Morbidity


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