Parents, teachers and peer relations as predictors of risk behaviors and mental well-being among immigrant and Israeli born adolescents

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Apr;70(7):976-84. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.12.010. Epub 2010 Feb 1.


This study examines the roles of parents (monitoring, involvement and support at school), teachers (support) and peers (excess time spent with friends, peer rejection at school) in predicting risk behaviors (smoking and drinking) and mental well-being among 3499 Israeli-born and 434 immigrant adolescents ages 11, 13 and 15, in the 2006 WHO Health Behavior in School-Aged Children cross-national survey. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) showed that for native Israeli youth, in line with previous developmental literature, all three relationships - parents, teachers and peers - have a significant impact on both mental well-being and risk behaviors. However, for immigrant adolescents, it was the school environment (parental support at school, teacher support and peer relationships) that proved to be the significant predictor of risk behaviors and mental health outcomes. These findings suggest that the school is an important social support in the health and mental well-being of immigrant schoolchildren.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • North America / ethnology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support