Acculturation and Well-Being among Arab-European Mixed-Ethnic Adolescents in Israel Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: To examine the relationship between two ethnic dimensions (Arab and European), and between a modified version of Berry's four acculturation styles (integration, assimilation into the Arab heritage, assimilation into the European heritage, and marginalization) and measures of psychological well-being among adolescents born to European mothers and Israeli Arab fathers. METHODS: A total of 127 Arab-European adolescents (aged 13 to 18 years; 64 males and 63 females) in Israel completed ethnic identification and well-being measures. RESULTS: Arab and European ethnic identifications emerged as being uncorrelated among the participants, providing a basis to use four acculturation styles to describe participants' variations in ethnic identification. The study found that integration and assimilation into the Arab heritage were connected with higher levels of desirable well-being correlates (self-esteem and positive relations with others) and with lower levels of undesirable correlates (depression and anxiety). The study also found that although assimilation into the European heritage was linked with high levels of self-esteem and low levels of depression, this style was linked with high levels of anxiety and low levels of positive relations with others. The marginalization style was consistently positively associated with high levels of poor mental health. CONCLUSIONS: The underlying assumption of Berry's four-fold model, notably the independence of ethnic identifications, tends to be borne out among mixed-ethnic individuals. On the basis of this independence the study revealed that a modified version of Berry's four acculturation styles could prevail among Arab-European individuals over the period of adolescence and that these styles play a predictive role in well-being measures of the individuals. Specifically, integration and assimilation into the Arab heritage emerged to be the best options for individuals' well-being; individuals' assimilation into their European heritage seemed to be simultaneously connected with high and low well-being outcomes; and ethnic marginalization of individuals was consistently correlated with poor well-being.

publication date

  • November 2006