An "Immigrant Paradox" for Adolescent Externalizing Behavior? Evidence from a National Sample
decades have witnessed a rise in the number of immigrant children in the United
States (US) and concomitant concerns regarding externalizing behaviors such as
crime, violence, and drug misuse by immigrant adolescents. The objective of the
present study was to systematically compare the prevalence of externalizing
behaviors and migration-related factors among immigrant and US-born adolescents
in the US.
to their US-born counterparts, immigrant adolescents-particularly those between
the ages of 15 and 17 years-are significantly less likely to be involved
in externalizing behaviors. In addition, later age of arrival and fewer years
spent in the US were associated with reduced odds of externalizing behavior.
Supplementary analyses indicate that the link between nativity and externalizing
behavior may be primarily driven by differences between US-born and immigrant
youth who self-identify as non-Hispanic black or Hispanic. Immigrant
adolescents are also more likely to report cohesive parental relationships,
positive school engagement, and disapproving views with respect to adolescent
study extends prior research on the "immigrant paradox" to
externalizing behavior among adolescents using a nationally representative data
source. Findings highlight the importance of examining age, age of arrival,
duration, and race/ethnicity in the study of nativity and externalizing.