Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1787–1802 | Cite as

Parental Influences on Adolescents’ Negative Attitudes Toward Immigrants

  • Burkhard Gniewosz
  • Peter Noack
Empirical Research


Attitudes toward immigrants are a core component of adolescents’ social identities. Although in a globalized world positive attitudes are functional, negative views toward immigrant are widespread. This study investigates the parent-adolescent transmission of attitudes toward immigrants between age 12 and 16. In a longitudinal five-wave cohort-sequential multi-informant survey study on German adolescents (N = 1289; 52.9 % female) and their parents (mothers N = 772; fathers N = 654), self-reported attitudes toward immigrants were measured at each time point. Changes in the adolescents’ attitudes were predicted by maternal and paternal self-reported attitudes across time. Predictions of short-term changes revealed that the major effect of the parents’ attitudes takes place in early adolescence (between grade 6 and 7). The prediction of the adolescents’ long-term attitude changes indicates that these effects sustain until the age of 16. No between-parent differences were found. The results are discussed in terms of early adolescence being a sensitive period for parental effects on the development of adolescents’ attitudes toward immigrants.


Attitudes toward immigrants Adolescence Parental influence Longitudinal 



This research was by the German Research Foundation (DFG, FOR 481/1-1).

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Author contributions

B.G. coordinated the project and data collection, conducted the statistical analyses for the study presented here, and drafted the manuscript; P.N. conceived of the study and was involved in the study coordination and drafting the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for General Education and Empirical Educational ResearchLudwig-Maximilians-University, MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyFriedrich-Schiller-University, JenaJenaGermany

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