Migrant family matters: Comparing patterns of intergenerational solidarity and partner separation in the Netherlands

Elisabeth Nathanaël Rooijackers

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    715 Downloads (Pure)


    Alterations in people’s life-expectancy, social norms and policy regulations have made the solidarity between parents and adult children and the increasing prevalence of divorce into well-discussed topics of public and scientific debate. In this dissertation, these family matters are examined among migrant families in the Netherlands, focusing on the four largest non-Western immigrant groups there: individuals of Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Antillean descent.

    The studies offer multi-dimensional insights into kin- and partnership dynamics by using survey material, in-depth interviews and register data to make various comparisons: between immigrant and native families, origin groups, immigrant generations, transnational and uni-national families, individuals with different background characteristics, migrants with various levels of acculturation and the perspectives of migrant mothers and children.

    The results suggest that relationships are shaped by circumstances rather than the origin of families. Family relations within migrant groups were found to vary substantially. Moreover, the similarities between migrant and native Dutch families were more striking than the differences, particularly in terms of a strong emotional mother-child bond. These findings firstly show that the increasing need for elderly care and augmenting occurrence of partner separation are matters that also concern the migrant population. Second, they impel a broader discussion about which groups we ought to compare, if our aim is to understand and aid families in wider society. By fixating too much on the distinction between immigrants and natives, we acquire an incomplete picture that does not do justice to the diversity of contemporary migrant families.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • de Valk, Helga, Supervisor
    • Merz, E.M., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date5-Oct-2017
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-028-0781-3
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-028-0781-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this