Why do Youth Support their Families? A Person-Oriented Approach in Migrant and Native Families

  • Lara AumannEmail author
  • Peter F. Titzmann
Empirical Research


Previous studies have observed high levels of family support of migrant adolescents. However, whether culture, context or migration explain this phenomenon remained unclear. This study investigated family support in high SES migrant and native families and identified family support subgroups and predictors as well as implications of subgroup-membership. Participants comprised 165 native Swiss (Mage = 15.9 years, 60.6% female) and 136 German migrants (Mage = 15.3 years, 64.7% female) in Switzerland and 187 native Germans in Germany (Mage = 15.3 years, 54.8% female). A person-oriented multi-group latent-class analysis identified three family support subgroups, which differed particularly in levels of emotional and instrumental family support. Migration was only associated with the medium family support subgroup, whereas family and context characteristics were associated with the high family support subgroup. Furthermore, the high family support subgroup reported the best psychosocial adjustment. These findings highlight that addressing different developmental contexts with person-oriented approaches can provide new insights in the understanding of adolescents’ adaptation processes.


Family support Adolescents Migrants Psychosocial adjustment Comparative Latent-class analysis 


Authors’ Contributions

L.A. conceived of the study, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; P.F.T. coordinated the study, performed the measurement, participated in the concept of the study and helped to draft the manuscript and to interpret the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The data originated from two projects: “Adolescent Immigrants from Germany in Switzerland: Challenged or fostered?” funded by the Foundation Suzanne and Hans Biäsch and “Culture-brokering as Opportunity and Risk for Adolescent Immigrants” funded by the Jacobs Foundation.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLeibniz University HanoverHanoverGermany

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