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Feelings of social alienation: a comparison of immigrant and non‐immigrant Swedish youth

Jalal Safipour (Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden)
Donald Schopflocher (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Gina Higginbottom (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Azita Emami (Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 26 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of the study is to investigate the social alienation status of Swedish high school students with respect to gender and immigrant background.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample was randomly selected from high school students aged 15‐19, and 446 students participated in the study. The Jessor and Jessor general alienation questionnaire was used to explore feelings of social alienation. Sequential multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the relationships between alienation, age, sex, and immigrant background.

Findings

The results demonstrated a significant association between immigrant background and alienation. It was found that first‐generation immigrants felt more alienated than second‐generation immigrants and second‐generation immigrants felt more alienated than natives. Adolescents who were first‐generation immigrants had higher scores on the social isolation subscale than second generation immigrants and native Swedes. However, second generation immigrants had higher scores on the meaninglessness subscale than first‐generation immigrants and native Swedes. Age proved to have a significant quadratic component. The research found feeling of alienation significantly higher among youngest and oldest students but lower for those aged 17.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited by the number of participants with different cultural background in the immigrant samples. As such, it was unable to compare feeling of alienation between students with different cultural background.

Originality/value

As the authors could not identify any studies that specifically address feelings of social alienation among adolescents in Sweden, thus this study is believed to be the first one in this context.

Keywords

Citation

Safipour, J., Schopflocher, D., Higginbottom, G. and Emami, A. (2011), "Feelings of social alienation: a comparison of immigrant and non‐immigrant Swedish youth", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 No. 7/8, pp. 456-468. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443331111149888

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited