A Near-Mint View Toward Integration: Are Adolescents More Inclusive than Adults? Copy

Authors

Fabio Maratia University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Beatrice Bobba University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Elisabetta Crocetti University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Background

Adolescents are growing up in increasingly diverse societies. Such increasing diversity poses great challenges for individuals with a migrant background who have to adjust to the receiving societies overcoming various barriers. Integration policies implemented by countries can help to manage these challenges by facilitating the adjustment of migrants while at the same time fostering more social cohesion and well-being, which can also benefit individuals from the majority group. If several instruments, like the Migrant Integration Policy Index, have been proposed to monitor to what extent countries implement these policies, less is known about the extent to which adolescents endorse them, showing inclusive orientations. In this vein, adolescence is a crucial period of life for developing social perspectives and attitudes. In the developmental trend of these attitudes, some youth embrace social diversity and develop inclusive orientations. Others, in contrast, are more resistant to it and appear less tolerant toward ethnic minorities than adults. Consistent with these considerations, the current study aims to understand differences within and across generational groups in developing positive attitudes toward integration policies.

Method

The present study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Alma Mater Studiorum Univerisity of Bologna (Italy) as part of the ERC-Consolidator project IDENTITIES “Managing identities in diverse societies: A developmental intergroup perspective with adolescents” (Grant Agreement n. 101002163). Study I. A pilot study with 356 adolescents (41.1% female, 58.9% male; Mage =15.38) and 200 adults (69% female, 31% male; Mage =47.43) was conducted to test the psychometric proprieties of the Attitudes toward Migrant Integration Policies (AMIP) scale, a measure to assess individuals’ attitudes toward different integration policies. Study II. A total of 1,156 adolescents (51.6% female, 48.4% male; Mage=15.69), 1,288 parents (56.9% mothers, 43.1% fathers; Mage = 49.39), and 284 teachers (68.3% female, 31.7% male; Mage = 45.55) were involved in a study to evaluate how attitudes toward integration policies differ within generations (e.g., ethnic majority and minority groups), within families (e.g., adolescents versus their fathers), and across (i.e., adolescents, parents, and teachers) generational groups.

Results

Latent mean comparisons indicated that attitudes toward integration policies varied significantly across sex (for adolescents and parents), ethnic background (parents only), and school track (adolescents) groups. Moving to generational differences, adolescents reported more positive attitudes toward integration policies compared to their mothers and fathers, but not compared to their teachers, who emerge as the most inclusive group of participants in the current study.

Conclusion

Taken together, these findings underline that comparing adolescents with the older generations is not clear-cut but depends on the target group. Notably, adolescents develop their social attitudes in interaction with the different models provided by their main socialization contexts (i.e., family and school). In this vein, teachers, as the group with the most positive attitudes toward integration policies, can be regarded as crucial social agents able to promote inclusiveness and openness to diversity.

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