Adaptation of young immigrants: A developmental perspective on acculturation research

Peter F. Titzmann, Richard M. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We draw upon developmental psychology theory to highlight the developmental process of acculturation in adolescent immigrants. First, we describe different ways in which development and acculturation have been combined in past research on immigrant youth. These studies mainly considered developmental and acculturation-related changes, predictors, and stages, or utilized the developmental context model by Bronfenbrenner (1977). However, developmental considerations are often only implicitly implemented in existing research and not in a very systematic manner. The dynamic aspects of development are particularly understated in acculturation research. For this reason, we reference and expand upon concepts pertaining to the biological, social, and psychological changes in pubertal development to highlight ways in which acculturation research can be made more dynamic and less static. We specifically present the concepts of acculturative timing, tempo, pace, and synchronicity as a means to systematically study acculturative changes over time in immigrant adolescents. In summary, in this review, we present a more dynamic and less static understanding of acculturation processes that includes normative developmental aspects for a more complex understanding of immigrant youth's psychosocial adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research for this project was supported in part by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Hogrefe Publishing.


  • acculturative pace
  • acculturative synchronicity
  • acculturative tempo
  • acculturative timing
  • adolescent immigrants
  • development


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