Ego Identity and Perceived Family Functioning: Comparing At-Risk Native-Born and Immigrant Ethiopian Adolescents in Israel

By Romi, Shlomo; Simcha, Getahun | Adolescence, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Ego Identity and Perceived Family Functioning: Comparing At-Risk Native-Born and Immigrant Ethiopian Adolescents in Israel


Romi, Shlomo, Simcha, Getahun, Adolescence


Two waves of Jewish immigration from Ethiopia arrived in Israel in the 1980s and early 1990s, bringing some 48,000 people, many of whom were children and adolescents (Schindler & Ribner, 1997; Central Bureau of Statistics, 1999; Itzhaky & Levy, 2002). Studies of this population in its native Ethiopia indicate that there were no at-risk adolescents in the community (Benita, Noam, & Levy, 1994; Naftali, 1994). In Ethiopia, the nuclear family was characterized by a clear, traditional division of roles between men and women, and a flexibility whereby members of the extended family assumed roles as necessary, at times functioning as parents. Adult children took their elderly parents into their homes and cared for them with devotion. Family boundaries were broad, and a large family was considered to be beneficial for the individual, especially in times of crisis (Bodowski, David, & Eran, 1990).

Conditions in Israel undermined this structure. For one, women left home to join the workforce, a change which often led to a deep crisis resulting in womamheaded households. In addition, children learned Hebrew before their parents did, an advantage that eroded parental authority. At the same time, adolescents faced the double challenge of their age-related developmental issues and the difficulties of immigration (Horowitz, 1989; Mirsky & Prawer, 1992; Cohen, 1993; Kozulin & Venger, 1993; Benita et al., 1994; Eisikovits & Beck, 1994).

Israeli Educational Frameworks for Ethiopian-born Adolescents

Upon arriving in Israel, most Ethiopian-born (EB) adolescents were sent to residential schools, a practice later criticized for creating conflict between the demands of the immigrant family and those of the school, entrenched in local social norms (Lehman, 1989). Residential schools, which were usually vocational, also hindered advancement as they did not provide the opportunity to matriculate, thus blocking the road to higher education (Naftali, 1994).

In examining the fieldwork, Lahav (1996) identified several factors that contribute to detachment and risk among EB adolescents in Israel: (1) Family problems. Many at-risk adolescents come from single-parent families (usually because one parent remained in Ethiopia or died), economically disadvantaged families, or families that are forced to relocate frequently, all in marked contrast to their situation prior to immigration; (2) Learning process. Upon arrival in Israel, EB children were placed in classes according to their age, regardless of previous schooling, and despite the discrepancy between their learning skills and Israeli requirements; (3) Culture and environment. EB adults face a gap between their tradition and the Western style adopted by adolescents, often leading to a communication crisis, lack of parents' ability to protect their children, and disagreement as to how to deal with life in Israel; (4) Integration into informal settings. EB adolescents are usually the minority in informal settings (e.g., community centers), resulting in feelings of exclusion and competition, or ignoring these settings, possibly turning to leisure activities which could involve loitering and perhaps criminal behavior; (5) Identity. The difficulties unique to immigration may exacerbate the natural adolescent conflicts in developing an ego identity (Erikson, 1964; Minuchin-Itzigsohn, 1989).

Ego Identity and Problematic Issues in Identity Formation among Ethiopian-born Adolescents

Ego identity is a key concept of Erikson's (1964, 1968, 1980) theory, and refers to a psychological construct composed of components or dimensions that are dynamically integrated and gradually change with age and experience. According to Erikson, the task of identity formation, or that of gaining a clear and coherent sense of knowing oneself and what one will be in life, is regarded as a normative developmental process influenced by personal and social contextual factors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Ego Identity and Perceived Family Functioning: Comparing At-Risk Native-Born and Immigrant Ethiopian Adolescents in Israel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.