Acculturation or Development? Autonomy Expectations Among Ethnic German Immigrant Adolescents and Their Native German Age-Mates


  • This project was funded through the German Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP-4.1) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). We thank Verona Christmas-Best for her help in the preparation of the manuscript.

concerning this article should be addressed to Peter F. Titzmann, Department of Developmental Psychology, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Am Steiger 3/1, 07743 Jena, Germany. Electronic mail may be sent to


This longitudinal study compared immigrant and native adolescents’ expectations concerning the timing of conventional socially acceptable and oppositional less socially acceptable forms of autonomy. Based on normative development and a collectivist background among immigrants, both developmental and acculturative change was expected. The sample consisted of 523 ethnic German immigrants from the former Soviet Union and 475 native German adolescents, both groups divided into an early (age 12.5 years) and a late (age 16 years) adolescent group. Results revealed more developmental than acculturative change, as immigrants and natives mostly showed a similar rate of change in autonomy expectations. Acculturative change was found only for oppositional autonomy among late adolescent immigrants, whose later expectations approached those of their native age-mates over time.