Dating relationships of the Turkish second generation in Europe: Patterns, partner origin and the role of parents

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Research on the union formation of the children of immigrants, the so-called second generation, focusses primarily on marriage and cohabitation. Even though dating relationships are often the first romantic relations and lay the foundation for more committed relationships, very little is known about dating among second-generation young adults. This is unfortunate because dating across different origin groups may point to changing or shifting group boundaries, that may only later be reflected in interethnic marriages. In this paper we aim to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the dating behavior of Turkish second-generation young adults in five European countries (the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France) using the comparative TIES survey data. Our results show that it is common for the Turkish second generation to date a partner with a non-Turkish background. And, moreover, that it is important to distinguish between different types of intra-ethnic partnerships. Although only few parents are reported not to approve of the relationship of their child, a substantial part of the second generation seems reluctant to inform their parents about their dating life. With regard to the role of parents, it seems that their influence on the origin of dating partners is limited. In order to enhance our understanding of the meaning of (intergroup-) dating, its determinants and outcomes, future data may focus more on meeting places and the role of peers in a longitudinal way. We argue that dating is an important indicator for intergroup relations that deserves further attention in increasingly diverse societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Dating
  • Partner choice
  • Group boundaries
  • Second generation
  • Europe


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