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Examining acculturation orientations and perceived cultural distance among immigrant adolescents in Portugal: links to performance in reading, mathematics, and science


Drawing on data from the fifth cycle of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the authors examined the relations of reported acculturation orientations—heritage as well as host culture-orientations—and perceived cultural distance between host and heritage culture with academic performance among 399 first- and second-generation immigrant adolescent students in Portugal. Results of hierarchical regression analyses, after accounting for student demographic characteristics, revealed a positive relationship between host culture-orientations and the first-generation immigrant adolescents’ performance on the PISA reading, mathematics and science assessments, and also the second-generation immigrant adolescents’ performance on reading assessment. Additionally, both the first- and second- generation immigrant adolescents’ heritage culture-orientations were significantly negatively linked to performance on the PISA reading, mathematics, and science assessments. Furthermore, findings revealed that first-generation immigrant adolescents’ perceived cultural distance was significantly negatively associated with their performance on the PISA reading and mathematics assessments. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

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Melkonian, M., Areepattamannil, S., Menano, L. et al. Examining acculturation orientations and perceived cultural distance among immigrant adolescents in Portugal: links to performance in reading, mathematics, and science. Soc Psychol Educ 22, 969–989 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-019-09506-5

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  • Acculturation orientations
  • Perceived cultural distance
  • Academic performance
  • First-generation immigrant adolescents
  • Second-generation immigrant adolescents