Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

“Whom Should I Talk To?”: Role Prescription and Hierarchy Building in Supervised Living Groups

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Abstract:  Adolescent asylum seekers have been an independent, yet understudied group in the German Youth welfare service since 2016. Due to the separation from their familiar surroundings, young people must establish new connections with their peers in supervised living groups. However, little is known about this special group in the youth welfare system as there are only a few studies covering the situation of adolescent asylum seekers in residential groups. In our study, we apply a mixed‐methods approach to analyse the self‐understanding of adolescent asylum seekers, social comparisons between the perceived own group and outside group and link them with data on the emergence of friendship ties among adolescent asylum seekers. Analytically, we describe institutional factors and narratives (qualitative focus) and access structural mechanisms (demographics, network organization principles) via network regression models (quantitative focus). Our results indicate a strong influence of a high level of upstreamness in the network in the tie creation and less influence from factors like age and religion. Following this, our study provides first indications about patterns of connection and separation in this niche group.

Keywords:  migration; mixed methods; network analysis; supervised living groups; unaccompanied minors; residential care



© Daniel Schubert, Alexander Brand. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.