Presentation on theme: "Immigrant Adolescents Cultural Orientation and its Relationship to Academic and Social Adjustment Melissa Kull New York University Many thanks to Sita."— Presentation transcript:
Immigrant Adolescents Cultural Orientation and its Relationship to Academic and Social Adjustment Melissa Kull New York University Many thanks to Sita Patel for her guidance and support, as well as numerous peer reviewers for their thoughtful comments.
Immigrant Adolescents & Acculturation 34 million people in the United States are foreign born and 12% are under the age of 21 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003). Understanding the acculturation of immigrant youth is important so that schools can foster pro-social adjustment. Measures of acculturation have varied across studies. Research must further explore acculturation in youths academic and social adjustment because schools are the main context in which adaptation occurs (Vedder & Virta, 2005).
Acculturation: Theory & Research Acculturation is a multidimensional process resulting from migration through which an individual adapts to a new cultural context (Berry, 1997). One type of acculturation is socio-cultural adaptation which refers to changes in the contexts of family, schools, and peers. Various factors influence acculturation (e.g., Aronowitz, 1984; Berry et al., 2006; Liebkind & Jasinskaja-Lahti, 2000; Phinney, 1990). Age: Particular risks exist for youth and older adults. Gender: Types of adaptation differ for males and females. Length of residency: Exposure significantly impacts family dynamics. Ethnicity: Finding a niche in established communities in host country. Experiences: Becoming a victim of discrimination and prejudice. Most studies have measured acculturation through a linear model of ethnic identity.
Cultural Orientation: Theory & Research Research suggests that the orthogonal model is a better measurement of acculturation than the linear model (Costigan & Su, 2004). The orthogonal model measures cultural orientation rather than ethnic identity. As a result, individuals can be differentially engaged in domains of both cultures, rather than replace the home culture with the host culture. A few domains of cultural orientation are language, social affiliations, activities, pride, and food (Tsai et al., 2000). Past research has found a significant relationship between cultural orientation and family, and between cultural orientation and self- competence (Ying, 1995; Ying et al., 2000; Ying et al., 2001).
Academic Adjustment of Immigrant Youth Socio-cultural adaptation occurs in the context of schools and has a profound impact on overall academic achievement and engagement (Vedder & Virta, 2005). Past research has focused on ethnic identity and academic achievement with contradictory results. Some studies suggest that a strong host country identity supports better academic adjustments, whereas others suggest that a strong native or ethnic identity is best suited for academic adjustment (e.g., Fuglini et al., 2005; Liebkind et al., 2004; López et al., 2002). Cultural orientation is understudied in the context of schools. To date, only one study has examined cultural orientation finding that a dual cultural orientation was positively correlated with educational achievement (Regner & Loose, 2006).
Social Adjustment of Immigrant Youth Socio-cultural adaptation occurs within schools and also affects the development of peer relationships. Maladaptive social behaviors are prevalent among immigrant youth who are most acculturated to the host culture (Wall et al., 1993). Young immigrant men are at a high risk for engaging in delinquency and negative peer behaviors (Aronowitz, 1984; Go & Le, 2005). Young immigrant women are at a greater risk for dating violence and victimization (Sanderson et al., 2004). Research portrays a complex relationship between negative peer behaviors, acculturation, delinquency, and strong ethnic identity (Arbona et al., 1999; Samaniego & Gonzales, 1999). No studies have used cultural orientation to assess acculturation in relation to immigrant youths social adjustment.
Research Questions & Hypotheses The overall purpose of the study was to explore the unique relationship between the cultural orientation and adjustment of immigrant youth. 1. How does the cultural orientation of immigrant adolescents relate to school adjustment? Hypothesis: Orientation to American culture is related to better school experiences, higher grades, and fewer absences. 2. How does the cultural orientation of immigrant adolescents relate to social adjustment? Hypothesis: Orientation to American culture is related to more negative peer experiences.
Participants Data were drawn from a study exploring cultural transitions and coping of 184 immigrant adolescents attending two international public high schools. 52% were female (n = 97) and 48% were male (n = 90). Ages ranged from 14 to 21 years (M = 16.50, SD = 1.3)
Procedure & Measures Students were asked to complete three measures using SurveyMonkey: General Ethnicity Questionnaire Scale assessed cultural orientation, the extent of an individuals engagement across a variety of cultural domains (e.g., language, food, tradition). School Hassles was measured through one subscale of the Multicultural Events Schedule for Adolescents (MESA) which explores if students experience conflicts with teachers and principals. Peer Hassles was measured through a second subscale of the MESA which explores if the students experience conflicts with friends. In addition, grades and attendance records were collected.
Preliminary Analyses American cultural orientation was negatively correlated to age of arrival in the U.S. (r = -.18, p <.05) and positively correlated to length of time in the U.S. (r =.21, p <.01). Age of arrival in the U.S. was negatively correlated to peer hassles (r = -.15, p =.05). A significant relationship was found between school and peer hassles (r =.47, p =.001). Cumulative grade point averages (GPA) were strongly related to fewer school hassles (r = -.29, p =.001).
Regression Analyses Regression analyses were conducted to ascertain whether cultural orientation predicts academic and social adjustment, controlling for cumulative GPA. School Hassles: students who had higher cumulative GPAs and were more oriented toward American culture experienced fewer school hassles (R 2 =.13, F (4,160)= 5.83, p<.001). Peer Hassles: Although there was a significant negative correlation between American culture orientation and peer hassles (r = -.15, p <.05), the model was not significant.
Conclusions and Implications Findings from this study lend support for the orthogonal model; however further research is needed to understand fully the role cultural orientation plays in immigrant adolescents lives. The strong correlation between school and peer hassles has important implications for school interventions that support the adjustment of immigrant youth. The sample was recruited from international schools, which are specially designed to support the adjustment of immigrant youth. Therefore, the results might not be generalizable to all immigrant youth. Future research should explore the full orthogonal model and use specific measures of academic and social adjustment to understand better the relationship between cultural orientation and adjustment among youth.
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