Immigrant and Autochthonous Young Adults in Italy: Intercultural Profiles, Psychosocial Adjustment and Mutual Attitudes

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In the last two decades, Italy had to deal with a rapid immigrant population increase. This change in “plural” society is characterized by deep-rooted disagreements that sometimes are even source of conflicts. For these reasons, there is the need to foster the scientific research in the field of intercultural relations in order to overcome conflicts among acculturating groups, especially during a period of economic recession characterized by a renewal in unemployment rates. From this perspective, both psychology of immigration and developmental psychology have begun to contribute to an understanding of those factors underlying the management of intercultural relations during life-course. Specifically, there are three main core questions to be answered in this field: How immigrants acculturate? Whether and how immigrants’ ways of acculturating are related to different levels of adjustment? How the connections between immigrants and autochthonous people affect the quality of intercultural relationships. In our study we focused on young adults living in Italy, both immigrants and autochthonous, investigating: (a) their acculturation profiles and acculturation orientations; (b) the relationships between acculturation profiles/orientations and psychosocial adjustment; (c) the quality of mutual attitudes among immigrants and autochthons. Data came from the Italian section of MIRIPS, an international research project leading by John Berry. Participants consisted of 260 young adults living in Sicily aged from 19 to 30: 130 Maghrebi immigrants and 130 Italian. Data collection involved completion of two structured versions of MIRIPS questionnaire, one for each group. Both versions assessed a wide range of variables, as immigrants’ acculturation attitudes, autochthons’ acculturation expectations, ethnic and national identities and peer contacts, psychological adaptation, immigrants’ socio-cultural competence and perceived discrimination, autochthons’ tolerance, mutual group attitudes. Cluster analysis was carried out to identify young adults’ profiles, both immigrant and autochthonous. In both cases results showed two different profiles: “ethnic” and “confused” for immigrants and “multicultural” and “confused” for autochthonous. A MANOVA suggested that immigrants’ psychological adjustment was related to acculturation profiles. With respect to mutual attitudes a specific theoretical model was tested using EQS 6.1 program, revealing that immigrants’ attitude towards autochthonous people was not affected by perceived discrimination and psychological adjustment, while autochthonous’ attitude towards immigrant people was positively affected by tolerance and psychological adjustment. These findings are discussed in a socio-developmental perspective, considering simultaneously the fact that the Italian immigration phenomenon is relatively new. Moreover, it is shown their impact on the future investigation and the field of educational programs.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012


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