The role of developmental transitions in psychosocial competence: A comparison of native and immigrant young people in Germany

Rainer K. Silbereisen, Peter F. Titzmann, Andrea Michel, Abraham Avi Sagi-Schwartz, Yoav Lavee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction Germany is a country of immigration, as evidenced by the fact that the nation hosts the third largest number of immigrants worldwide (for a comparative overview see Hernandez, this volume). About 18% of the population comes from a migration background (Statistisches Bundesamt [Federal Statistical Office], 2008). Among the immigrant population, three groups can be distinguished: economic migrants; diaspora or repatriate migrants of often distant German ethnicity (Aussiedler); and refugees. Due to the substantial and diverse migrant population of Germany, integration and educational success are issues of growing public concern. Social and cultural exclusion of population subgroups endangers societal cohesion (Woellert et al., 2009). There also are concerns about the impact of lower achievement of migrant youth in the educational system, higher representation of young migrants among delinquents, and a growing separation from the majority German population on religious grounds (Mueller, 2006). One of the underlying issues for developmental outcomes of migrant youth may be related to how immigrant groups deal with developmental transitions. For example, the lower attendance rate of immigrant children and the delayed transition from family care to kindergarten can be viewed as a missed opportunity for nonnative children to become familiar with their German peers, the German language, and native customs (B. Becker, 2010). The aim of this chapter is to present the results of our research investigating the effects of positive developmental transitions on psychosocial developmental outcomes among immigrants compared to native-born young people. We focused on the five aspects of positive development known as the Five Cs – competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring (Lerner et al., 2005). More specifically, we examined whether the effects of developmental transitions are similar across ethnic groups or vary, for instance as a function of differences in family resources or culture. Beyond the institutionally formalized transitions to kindergarten and school, our research investigated more informal, personal transitions, such as to romantic involvement in adolescence and partnership in young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRealizing the Potential of Immigrant Youth
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781139094696
ISBN (Print)9781107019508
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2012.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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