Technical Brokering of Immigrant Adolescents in Switzerland: A Developmental-Acculturative Perspective

authored by
Lara Aumann, Peter F. Titzmann

In the present digital age, intrafamilial dynamics and adolescents’ support of their parents in media use (technical brokering, Katz, 2010) are increasing in attention. However, the significance of migration-specific processes in adolescents’ technical brokering is less understood. In immigrant families, adolescents’ technical brokering may help families in adapting to the host culture and in keeping contact with friends and family abroad. This study investigated differences in the level of technical brokering between German immigrant and native Swiss adolescents and tested whether migration-unrelated (family life) or migration-related (i.e., culture brokering, Tse, 1995) factors are better predictors of interindividual differences in technical brokering in high SES immigrant families. The sample comprised 301 adolescents in Switzerland: 136 German immigrant adolescents (average age = 15.3, 65% female) and 165 native Swiss adolescents (average age = 15.9, 61% female). Adolescents stated the frequency of technical brokering tasks as well as culture brokering and migration-related processes. The results revealed that German immigrant adolescents provided technical brokering more frequently than native Swiss adolescents. Hierarchical regressions confirmed that technical brokering in German immigrant families is best explained by adolescents’ supporting their family in mastering the transition to a new country, as predictors pertaining to culture brokering, and host culture orientation explained most of the variance. This interpretation received further support by an interaction effect showing that technical brokering is particularly frequent when adolescents act as a culture broker in families with substantial socio-cultural adaptation difficulties. This study complements an often deficit-oriented view on immigrant youth with a view of their active and constructive role in immigrant family processes.

Institute of Psychology
Journal of Child and Family Studies
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Developmental and Educational Psychology, Life-span and Life-course Studies
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)