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Mutual intercultural relations among immigrant and autochthonous youth in Italy. Testing the integration, multiculturalism, and contact hypotheses

  • Autori: Inguglia, Cristiano; Musso, Pasquale; Albiero, Paolo; Cassibba, Rosalinda; Maria Iannello, Nicolò; Lo Cricchio, Maria Grazia; Liga, Francesca; W. Berry, John; Lo Coco, Alida
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Italy is increasingly becoming a culturally complex society. This poses numerous challenges for developmental and educational psychology, mainly in terms of how to encourage adequate levels of social harmony by promoting positive development of both immigrant and autochthonous youth. Within this perspective, the current paper presents the Italian findings of the Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies (MIRIPS) international project, postulating the centrality of three core hypotheses: integration, multiculturalism, and contact. Two studies were performed to investigate these hypotheses. Study 1 comprised 188 Tunisian adolescents aged 13-18 (51% F; Mage=15.94), while Study 2 included 282 Italian adolescents aged 13-18 (58% F; Mage=16.34). Data collection involved completion of the Italian version of the MIRIPS questionnaires, including security, contact, attitudes, acculturation, and well-being measures. In both studies, hypotheses were simultaneously tested by a SEM approach. The tested theoretical models fit the data well. For Tunisian adolescents, establishing contacts with Italian peers was associated with acculturation outcomes of integration (contact hypothesis), that in turn were related to higher well-being (integration hypothesis). Also, higher levels of perceived discrimination were related to acculturation outcomes of separation (multiculturalism hypothesis). For Italian adolescents, feelings of security were linked to higher multicultural ideology and tolerance (multiculturalism hypothesis) as well as to higher contact with immigrants, that in turn were connected to lower segregationist attitudes (contact hypothesis). Moreover, higher levels of acculturation expectation of multiculturalism (the idea that non-dominant/immigrant groups should be integrated by both maintaining the original culture and adopting the dominant/hosting culture) were linked to higher self-esteem (integration hypothesis). The findings substantially supported the three core hypotheses and provided insights for decision-makers and practitioners to design effective social policies and educational programs to enhance the quality of intercultural relations among youth in Italy.