Ethnicity and adolescent well-being in the context of families, friends, and neighborhoods

Eyrun Maria Runarsdottir*, Runar Vilhjalmsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Adolescent mental well-being may be affected in various ways by the experience of migration. Socioeconomic resources and social support affect adolescent well-being, but little is known about the importance of such resources among ethnic groups in immediate versus more distant environments. The aim of this study is to explore ethnic differences in well-being by family affluence, social support and ethnic diversity at both individual and neighborhood levels. This study is a population-based cross-sectional survey and is a part of the international research network Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC). Participants were 11-, 13- and 15-year-old Icelandic students present in their school at the day of administration (N = 9565, 50% males) in 156 compulsory schools. The results show that while family and friend support is associated with greater adolescent well-being, foreign-origin adolescents benefit more from supportive parents than native-origin adolescents. The study shows that belonging to an affluent family benefits well-being, as well as belonging to an affluent neighborhood. Closer inspection shows that this neighborhood effect benefits adolescents of foreign-origin less. More attention should be paid to useful and approachable resources in the environment of native and foreign-origin adolescents and ways to better mobilize the resources within families and neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1360
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Iceland Research Fund. The Icelandic HBSC study was conducted by the Centre for Prevention Studies at the University of Akureyri in Iceland. The authors would like to thank the staff of the center for facilitating this research project. This work was supported by the University of Iceland Research Fund, but this source did not have any role in study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, in the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • adolescent well-being
  • Ethnic background
  • ethnic diversity
  • family affluence
  • social support


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