The role of identity and psychosomatic symptoms as mediating the relationship between discrimination and risk behaviors among first and second generation immigrant adolescents

Sophie D. Walsh, Tanya Kolobov, Yair Raiz, Meyran Boniel-Nissim, Riki Tesler, Yossi Harel-Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study examines psychosomatic symptoms, and host and heritage identities as mediators of the relationship between discrimination and aggressive behavior and substance use. Israeli data from the 2013-14 Health Behaviors of School-aged Children study included a representative sample of 1503 first- and second-generation immigrant adolescents aged 11–17 years (45.2% male) from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia in Israel. Structural equation modeling, controlling for age, gender, family affluence and immigrant generation, showed different pathways for the two groups. For FSU-heritage adolescents, the relationship between discrimination and aggressive behavior and substance use was partially mediated by psychosomatic symptoms. Lower host and heritage identities also predicted psychosomatic symptoms. For Ethiopian-heritage adolescents, the relationship between discrimination and outcomes was fully mediated by psychosomatic symptoms and a weaker host identity. Results support an externalizing model, whereby discrimination leads to a weaker host identity and increased psychosomatic symptoms, associated with substance use and aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-47
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume64
Early online date3 Feb 2018
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents

Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Fighting
  • Host and heritage identity
  • Immigrant adolescents
  • Psychosomatic symptoms
  • Substance use

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