Adaptation problems among adolescent immigrants from Korea, Mexico and Poland

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The objective of this study was to explore the adaptation problems of Korean, Mexican, and Polish first and one-and-a-half generation adolescent immigrants residing in Midwestern U.S. The study was based on 16 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with teenagers and young adults from the metro Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, IL areas. Three main themes were identified with respect to adaptation problems among adolescent immigrants. First, the interviewees spoke of problems they experienced in their schools, including lack of English fluency, negative interactions with teachers and other school personnel, and drawbacks of bi-lingual education. Second, they discussed issues surrounding their family relations after immigration. Family separation, inadequate interactions with parents following arrival, and intergenerational conflict were the main problems identified by the interviewees. Lastly, adolescents commented on their peer relationships that hindered their adaptation, including discrimination by the mainstream youth and divisions within ethnic groups based on the teens' acculturation level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-229
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Adaptation problems
  • Adolescents
  • Immigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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