The Health Risk Behaviors and Social Connectedness of Adolescents in Immigrant Families: Evidence from Australia

Peter D. Brandon, Australian National University

Using Australian data, health behavior outcomes and the social connectedness of adolescents in immigrant families are contrasted with the outcomes of adolescents in non-immigrant families. Findings suggest that first and second generation adolescents are less likely to drink alcohol and lack social support than third generation adolescents, but more likely not to be physically active and not to have membership to a social club than third generation adolescents. Second generation adolescents are more likely to smoke than third generation adolescents. Findings suggest that immigrant adolescents appear protected from negative risks, yet, do not benefit from Australia’s cultural traditions for physical activity and social participation. Across generations, however, social participation and physical activity increase. As length of time increases, the protective effect of the immigrant family against some negative risks wanes. Overall, the adaption process leads adolescents in immigrant families to adopt Australia’s social customs of health and social behaviors.

Presented in Session 166: Neighborhoods, Social Connectedness, and Immigrant Group Incorporation