Socialization in changing cultural contexts: A search for images of the "adaptive adult"

Dorit Roer-Strier*, Miriam K. Rosenthal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In recent years increasing attention has been paid to the significant roles of culture and socialization in child development. The conceptual framework presented in this article is derived from the fields of cross-cultural child development, immigration, and ethnic minority studies. The article focuses on the relationship between cultural contexts and images of an "adaptive adult," which is proposed as a guiding metaphor in the organization of child-rearing ideologies and practices, which in turn are influenced by the values, experience, culture, and behavior of socializing agents within a given culture. The article explains how this concept is rooted in past and future time orientations and in the duality of public and private cultures. The article also explores changes in images of the adaptive adult in interaction with ecological components. Examples from the authors' research in Israel, as well as the research of others, are cited. The article concludes with a general discussion of the potential contribution that this framework can make to social workers dealing with immigrant, migrant, and ethnic minority children and families.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2001


  • Adaptive behavior
  • Cultural change
  • Cultural context
  • Ethnic minority families
  • Socialization


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