Changing Familial Roles for Immigrant Adolescents From the Former Soviet Union to Israel

Anna Kosner*, Dorit Roer-Strier, Jenny Kurman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article examines how young immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union during their adolescence perceive and cope with the resulting changes in their family roles. Data collected via interviews and focus groups from adolescents and young adults (N = 34) revealed six distinct roles: language broker, family navigator, breadwinner, cultural broker, self-caretaker, and counselor. These roles were reported to generate negative effects (e.g., lost childhood, distress) and simultaneously positive effects (e.g., gaining independence, life-experience). Various mechanisms facilitated coping, including help from friends and family, self-strength, and a sense of meaning. The findings challenge traditional views of role reversal and broaden the perspective on role change in immigration. This article discusses the importance of cultural context as well as implications of the findings for theory, research, and practice.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)356-379
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • adolescents
  • family dynamics
  • immigration
  • role change


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