Volume 37 - Article 53 | Pages 1707–1734  

Acculturation style, transnational behaviour, and return-migration intentions of the Turkish second generation: Exploring linkages

By George Groenewold, Helga de Valk


Background: In public discourse, acculturation, transnational behaviour, and migration are highly debated and viewed as related. In the academic literature, this relationship has hardly received attention. This article explores linkages between these processes and how they are determined by indicators of cultural distance (i.e., perceived discrimination and religiosity) and personality (i.e., self-efficacy).

Methods: We derive a general theoretical model for these processes and determinants and test it by using structural equation modelling on the TIES survey data of the Turkish second generation in six European countries.

Results: Model-fit statistics indicate that our theoretical model is supported by the survey data of the six countries and by pooled-country data. We found that the type of acculturation style preferred by the Turkish second generation influences how transnationally active they are and what their migration intentions are. We also found that being more transnationally active correlates with a stronger intention to migrate to Turkey. Cultural distance (religiosity and perceived discrimination) and, less so, personality traits (self-efficacy) impinge on these relationships.

Contribution: Our theoretical model helps to explain how acculturation, transnational behaviour, and migration intentions are related to and determined by cultural distance and personality traits. Country-specific configurations of the model exist and underscore the importance of taking characteristics of the country context into account when studying the behaviour of immigrant groups. Furthermore, the TIES project collected unique, rich, and comparable data that is available to the research community for studying the lives of the Turkish second generation from an international comparative perspective.

Author's Affiliation

  • George Groenewold - Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI), the Netherlands EMAIL
  • Helga de Valk - Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI), the Netherlands EMAIL

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