Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Vicky Phares

Keywords

Acculturative Stress, Fathers, Hispanic, Mothers, Parenting

Abstract

This study investigated the different pathways by which acculturation may influence Hispanic adolescents' psychological functioning and academic achievement. Proposed mediational pathways included adolescent perceptions of mothers' and fathers' parenting practices, acculturative stress, self-esteem, academic support, and academic motivation. Participants included 116 9th and 10th grade students recruited from high schools and a parent for each student. Parents completed a measure of acculturation and rated their adolescents' psychological symptomology. Adolescents completed measures of perceived parenting (mother and father), a self-report of psychological symptoms, a measure of acculturation and acculturative stress, as well as ratings of academic support and motivation. Mediation analysis was utilized to identify mediators of family acculturation in relation to adolescent mental health and academic achievement. Results showed that adolescent self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between parent biculturalism and adolescent withdrawn behavior. Correlational findings identified positive relationships between parent and adolescent preference for American culture to be related to increased likelihood of academic achievement and self-esteem, and decreased internalizing and externalizing behaviors. These findings suggest that biculturalism (preference for both Hispanic and American culture) at the familial and individual level may serve as a protective buffer against adolescent mental health symptoms and poor academic performance. Findings are discussed in terms of preventive interventions for Hispanic youth.

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