Interviews with 20 mothers, fathers, adolescent sons and daughters from Arabic immigrant families elicited descriptions of participants’ experiences of storytelling in their families. Constructivist grounded theory analysis of interview data provided an initial conceptualization of intergenerational storytelling during adolescence that both reflects and serves to influence parent-adolescent relationships as well as the broader cultural domain through story content, storytellers’ intentions, and responsive interaction. This preliminary substantive theory presents storytelling in immigrant families during adolescence as relationally grounded, influenced and expressed through a cultural/language “prism,” responsive and active in moving relationships toward or away from connection, and dependent on story content/context as well as the storyteller’s delivery and listener’s response. These findings have implications for extending theoretical conceptualization of family interactions during adolescence beyond conflict, monitoring, and peer influences. In addition, practical implications for supporting and understanding the day-to-day interactions that support parent-adolescent relationships and cultural minority families are highlighted


Parent-Adolescent Relationships, Immigrant Families, Grounded Theory, Dialogic Theory, Social Constructionism, Storytelling


Acknowledgements: Research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

We would like to extend our thanks to Wisam Al Dabbagh, M.Sc., and Laura French, M.Sc., who assisted in transcribing, coding and analysis of interview data; and to Reem Ebied and Sarah Darsha who conducted all interviews.

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