Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 375–386 | Cite as

Collective Identity and Well-Being of Bulgarian Roma Adolescents and Their Mothers

  • Radosveta Dimitrova
  • Athanasios Chasiotis
  • Michael Bender
  • Fons J. R. van de Vijver
Empirical Research


In Europe and specifically in Bulgaria, Roma represent the largest indigenous ethnic minority exposed to severe discrimination, social exclusion, poverty, and compromised well-being. To improve their conditions, identifying sources of psychological well-being for Roma is theoretically relevant and practically important. This study investigated the relation between ethnic, familial, and religious identities as salient collective identity components for psychological well-being among 194 Roma adolescents (age: M = 16.11 years, SD = 1.36) and their mothers (age: M = 35.95 years, SD = 3.54). The results indicated that in line with marginalization models of acculturation, Roma youth and their mothers showed a low endorsement of both Bulgarian mainstream and Roma ethnic identity. The average scores of well-being were also low. For both groups, familial identity was stronger compared to Roma, Bulgarian, and religious identity. A path model showed that collective identity was a positive predictor of well-being in both adolescents and mothers and that the mothers’ collective identity was a predictor of adolescent well-being. Bulgarian mainstream identity had the strongest relationship with collective identity. It is concluded that, for Roma youth and their mothers, family is an important identity domain as it represents the most salient identification source that is not challenged in their environment.


Ethnic Familial Religious identity Roma adolescents and mothers Well-being Bulgaria 



The authors are extremely grateful to Mrs. Neli Filipova, Mrs. Petrova, and all adolescents and parents for their help in carrying out the study.

Author contributions

R.D. conceived the study, participated in its design, data collection, and analyses and drafted the manuscript; A.C. has made contributions to design of the study and revision of the manuscript; M.B. has been also involved in designing the study and revising the manuscript; F.V.D.V. has made substantial contributions to conception of the study, analysis and interpretation of data as well as revising the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radosveta Dimitrova
    • 1
  • Athanasios Chasiotis
    • 1
  • Michael Bender
    • 1
  • Fons J. R. van de Vijver
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Cross-Cultural PsychologyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.North-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  3. 3.School of Psychology, McElwain BuildingThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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