Acculturation, and Delinquency among Adolescent Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in Israel


  • Gideon Fishman
  • Gustavo Mesch



This study is part of a larger project which follows the acculturation of youth from the Former Soviet Union in Israel over a period of three years. It reports the first wave of data collection that established a base line for a longitudinal comparison later on. This paper examines the relations between adolescent immigrants’ acculturation and involvement in delinquency.
Acculturation is conceptualized as the outcome of interactions and encounters between the adolescent and the host society, i. e., the school, the peers and the bureaucracy. Like in many other studies, we used some proxies for acculturation such as length of residence, family economic conditions, and use of language, however, we also included direct measures of the adolescent’s perceptions and experiences of daily interactions with people and institutions in the host society.
The current study is based on a face-to-face national survey conducted on a sample of 1,421 adolescents (ages 12-18) who have immigrated from the FSU to Israel during the preceding 6 years. Participants were interviewed face to face by Russian-speaking interviewers without the presence of parents.
The analysis uses logistic regression and calculates predicted probabilities to be involved in delinquency for various profiles of immigrant adolescents. Accordingly, the highest probability to be involved in delinquency is attributed to an adolescent who lives in a poorly functioning family, has a high score of perceived discrimination and has been in the new country for a relatively long period. The lowest probability to become a delinquent is assigned to an adolescent who lives in a highly functioning family, has low perception of discrimination, and is relatively short time in the country. These results underline the importance of the family as a control agent and as a buffer against delinquency.