Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 761–766 | Cite as

Support for Autonomy at School Predicts Immigrant Adolescents’ Psychological Well-being

  • Fabio Alivernini
  • Elisa CavicchioloEmail author
  • Sara Manganelli
  • Andrea Chirico
  • Fabio Lucidi
Original Paper


We investigated the relationship between teacher support at school intended to promote students’ autonomy and immigrant adolescents’ psychological well-being. A structural equation model was tested on 3130 immigrant adolescents who attended a representative sample of 654 Italian high schools. Gender, socioeconomic status, previous school achievement and immigrant generation were included in the analysis as control variables. Results showed that when teachers are perceived as adopting an approach that is supportive of autonomy, immigrant adolescents report significantly higher levels of psychological well-being. Gender appears to be the most relevant background factor, with girls being more at risk than boys as regards mental health. Overall, our findings suggest that interventions of enacted support by teachers at school that aim to foster students’ autonomy would be an effective approach for protecting against mental illness in immigrant adolescents.


Psychological well-being Mental health Teacher autonomy support Background factors Immigrant adolescents 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System (INVALSI)RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Developmental and Social PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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