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Ethnicities and social adjustment in Canadian adolescents

  • Christopher Bagley
  • Floyd Bolitho
  • Lorne Bertrand
Articles

Abstract

Canada is a complex plural society made of groups with multiple ethnic and linguistic origins. It is uncertain whether government support for multiculturalism is reflected in retention of ethnic identities in the majority of the population in the face of both acculturative social forces and publicly expressed political arguments against multiculturalism. The degree to which ethnic identity or identities are retained in young people is explored through secondary analysis of data gathered on some 2,100 Alberta adolescents, with analysis of various kinds of social adjustment that may be linked to expressed ethnic origins or ancestries. Nearly half of the adolescents retained a single ethnic allegiance, with the remainder expressing multiple ethnic identities. Many non-random patterns were found in terms of association of declared ethnic allegiance and variables such as home language; religious affiliation and observance; scholastic achievement; sexual behaviour; alcohol and drug use; family structure; and parental education family discord, and selfesteem. Three groups (South Asian, Chinese, and Spanish and Portuguese) emerged as having strong family systems, conservative social habits and high achievement aspirations. Correlation of variables across ethnic groupings indicated a coherent pattern, with students of German, Polish, and Italian ancestry forming a group; Dutch and Ukrainian-ancestry students another; French, Scots, and Irish-ancestry a further group; and Scandinavian and English-ancestry students another group. The results are promising enough for us to propose that further research on comlex ethnic identities and social behaviours in youth should be undertaken.

Key words

Immigration multicultural policies Canada adolescents adjustment ethnicity 

Résumé

Le Canada est une société pluraliste complexe, composée de groupes d’origines ethniques et linguistiques multiples. Il n’est pas sûr si l’appui du gouvernement au multiculturalisme se reflète dans le maintien des identités ethniques de la majorité de la population face à la fois aux forces sociales acculturatives et aux arguments politiques experimés publiquement contre le multiculturalisme. Le degré de conservation de l’identité ou des identités ethniques chez les jeunes est examiné par l’analyse secondaire de données recueillies auprès de 2 100 adolescents albertains, une analyse étant faite des différents genres d’ajustements sociaux qui peuvent être liés aux origines ethniques ou ancestrales exprimées. Près de la moitié des adolescents ont conservé une seule allégeance ethnique, les autres exprimant des identités ethniques multiples. On a répertorié beaucoup de profils non aléatoires dans l’association de l’allégeance ethnique déclarée et des variables comme la langue parlée à la maison, l’affiliation religieuse et l’observation du culte, les réalisations scolaires, les comportements sexuels, l’alcool et les drogues, la structure familiale, le niveau d’instruction des parents, la discorde familiale et l’estime de soi. Trois groupes (les Asiatiques du Sud, les Chinois ainsi que les Espagnols et les Portugais) ressortent comme ayant des systèmes familiaux forts, des habitudes sociales conservatrices et de grandes aspirations. La corrélation des variables entre les groupes ethniques indique l’existence d’un modèle cohérent, les édudiants d’originine allemande, polonaise et italienne formant un groupe, ceux d’origine hollandaise et ukrainienne un autre, ceux d’origine française, écossaise et irlandaise formant un autre groupe et enfin les étudiants d’origine scandinave et anglaise formant un autre groupe. Les résultats sont assez prometteurs pour nous amener à proposer une recherche plus poussée sur les identités ethniques complexes et les comportements sociaux chez les jeunes.

Mots-clefs

politique multiculturelle ajustement ethnicité 

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Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Bagley
    • 1
  • Floyd Bolitho
    • 2
  • Lorne Bertrand
    • 3
  1. 1.Royal Free Hospital and University College Medical SchoolUK
  2. 2.Northern Territory UniversityAustralia
  3. 3.University of CalgaryCanada

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