School achievement and well-being of immigrant children

In a new study, ISOTIS researchers Rita Guerra, Ricardo Borges Rodrigues and Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon) examined the role of perceived discrimination and acculturation orientations on immigrant children's achievement and well-being in the school context. Participants in the study included immigrant, immigrant descendant and native Portuguese children from 4th to 6th grade.

This study examined the relation between perceived discrimination and immigrant/immigrant descendant children's acculturation orientations towards culture maintenance and contact with native peers, and their psychological (i.e., well-being and peer acceptance) and sociocultural adaptation (i.e., school achievement).

Results indicated that:

- Immigrant and immigrant descendant children revealed lower school achievement than their native peers; but only immigrant, and not immigrant descendant children, reported lower levels of well-being and peer acceptance.

- Perceived discrimination was found to be negatively related to school achievement, via an increased desire for culture maintenance, only among immigrant children.

- The indirect effects of perceived discrimination on well-being and peer acceptance were not significant.

- However, perceived discrimination was strongly related to lower well-being and acceptance, independently of the target group. This suggest that the negative association between perceived discrimination and well-being in the school context might encompass a more general process affecting both immigrant and immigrant descendant children.

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