Experiences of Eldest Second-Generation Americans: Exploratory Study of Identity and Mental Health



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An individual’s identity can be challenging to navigate, particularly for those from immigrant families. Coming from an immigrant family, there are certain roles and responsibilities expected of children, especially from the eldest; these added roles and responsibilities can result in negative mental health consequences for eldest children within immigrant families. This exploratory study investigated the lived experience of the eldest child within immigrant families through in-depth interviews, with a focus on their identity and mental health. This study used an inductive thematic analysis framework to conceptualize patterns of experiences among participants generated into themes. The results are organized by using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems (1979) and Berry’s acculturation model (2017) to provide a visual representation of the eldests’ overall human development. There are four main themes identified throughout the study: Who are you?, Eldest Responsibilities, Balancing Two Cultures, and Mental Health and Sources of Support. Responsibilities, identity, and acculturation were found to be the main sources of stress and pressure among this group of participants while navigating their identity in the United States.



Second-generation Americans, immigrant, identity, mental health, eldest