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Recognizing RISKS while taking a RESILIENCE perspective

Recognizing RISKS while taking a RESILIENCE perspective

As immigrant families transition to their new homelands, they often encounter a number of challenges of varying degrees before, during, and after the migratory journey.

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Before| Pre-Migratory Voyage

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During | The Migratory Voyage

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After | Post-Migration

These challenges can present a variety of stresses and accumulated traumas to immigrant families. In addition they face the well-recognized acculturative challenges of learning the ways of a new land. While adults (e.g., parents and caretakers) are slower to negotiate these changes, children and youth long to belong and are quick studies which may lead to varying degrees of acculturative stress (see, Bornstein, 2017).

Despite these challenges, a resilience perspective considers the many ways in which immigrant children and youth demonstrate resilience. Indeed, there is evidence that immigrant origin children and youth demonstrate advantages in some domains while struggling in others. A pattern termed the “immigrant paradox” (see Marks, Ejesi, & García Coll, 2014) has pointed to a puzzling general trend–while immigrants often reside in the least resourced neighborhoods with less than optimal schools, nonetheless newcomers tend to demonstrate better health outcomes, demonstrate lower levels of participation in acts of delinquency, and have better grades than their more acculturated peers. There are nuanced and complex variations in this data, however, depending upon what outcomes are measured, how they are measured, for what groups, and in which contexts (see Marks, Ejesi, & García Coll, 2014; Suárez-Orozco, Abo-Zena, & Marks, 2015).

Learn more

Bornstein, M. H. (2017). The specificity principle in acculturation science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(1), 3-45.

Foster, R. P. (2001). When immigration is trauma: Guidelines for the individual and family clinician. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71(2), 153-170

Marks, A. K., Ejesi, K., & García Coll, C. (2014). Understanding the US immigrant paradox in childhood and adolescence. Child Development Perspectives, 8(2), 59-64.

Coll, C. G. E., & Marks, A. K. E. (2012). The immigrant paradox in children and adolescents: Is becoming American a developmental risk? American Psychological Association.

Motti-Stefanidi, F., & Masten, A. S. (2013). School success and school engagement of immigrant children and adolescents: A risk and resilience developmental perspective. European Psychologist, 18(2), 126.

Suárez-Orozco, C., Motti-Stefanidi, F., Marks, A., & Katsiaficas, D. (2018). An integrative risk and resilience model for understanding the adaptation of immigrant-origin children and youth. American Psychologist, 73(6), 781-796.

Suárez-Orozco, C., Bang, H. J., & Kim, H. Y. (2011). I felt like my heart was staying behind: Psychological implications of family separations & reunifications for immigrant youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 26(2), 222-257.

Transitions: The Development of Children of Immigrants. Edited by Carola Suárez-Orozco, Mona Abo-Zena, and Amy Marks. (2015). New York University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0814789445.

Yoshikawa, H., Suarez-Orozco, C. S., & Gonzales, R. G. (2017). Unauthorized status and youth development in the United States: Society for Research on Adolescence consensus statement. Journal of Research in Adolescence, 27, 4-19.