Health, Well-Being, and Health Behavior among Immigrant Adolescents in Social Context

PhD dissertation by Matthias Robert Kern, 2016 - 2020

As a PhD candidate, Matthias Robert Kern worked in the Centre for Childhood and Youth (CCY) at the University of Luxembourg until 2020. His doctoral work evolved within the realms of the project on Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children, where he was member of the Focus Group Social Inequalities and of the HBSC Country Team Luxembourg.

Exploring the rich collection of HBSC data between 2016 and 2020, Matthias was able to design a strong case about the specific social contexts of Luxembourgish youths. Developing his dissertation on health, well-being and health behavior among immigrant adolescents in Luxembourg, he could base his work both on national and on international data collections originating in HBSC.

Valorisation

Researching, for example, young immigrants’ own weight assessment, Matthias has demonstrated that his findings can guide policy makers and practitioners in their tasks: “Working with young people with a migration background who misperceive their weight-status demands culturally sensitive interventions that take into account norms and standards from the two countries which the young person is bridging.” (Kern, Heinz, Stevens, Walsh, Willems, 2020, p. 8)

"Educational frameworks can be encouraged to explore with young people how weight evaluation standards may differ across countries and help young people understand how they evaluate their own weight."
Matthias Robert Kern
PhD

Recommending to take on board especially the young people themselves, Matthias and his colleagues write: “Educational frameworks can be encouraged to explore with young people how weight evaluation standards may differ across countries and help young people understand how they evaluate their own weight. A greater understanding of the way cross-nationally differing standards can impact how young people see their own weight may enable a greater sense of agency over their feelings toward their bodies” (ibid.).

Supervision

Matthias Robert Kern’s PhD dissertation was supervised by Prof. Dr. Helmut Willems, Prof. Dr. Dieter Ferring († 2017) and Dr. Andreas Heinz on the part of the University of Luxembourg. Supervision on the part of the University of Halle, Germany was provided by Prof. Dr. Matthias Richter.

Having graduated from London School of Economics and Political Science with an MSc in Sociology, Matthias joined the University of Luxembourg in 2016. After his successful PhD defense, he has accepted a post-doc position at Utrecht University. We wish Matthias a successful continuation of his academic career and look forward to reading more of him.

We warmly recommend everyone to discover Matthias’s academic output, some of which was publicized with open access:

Publications

Kern, Heinz, Stevens, Walsh, Willems (2020): “What’s a normal weight?” – Origin and receiving country influences on weight-status assessment among 1.5 and 2nd generation immigrant adolescents in Europe
Kern, Duinhof, Walsh, Cosma, Moreno-Maldonado, Molcho, Curry, Stevens (2020): Intersectionality and Adolescent Mental Well-being: A Cross-Nationally Comparative Analysis of the Interplay Between Immigration Background, Socioeconomic Status and Gender
Kern, Heinz, Willems (2020): School-Class Co-Ethnic and Immigrant Density and Current Smoking among Immigrant Adolescents