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Effects of Immigrant Generation and Parentage on Identity Processes, Outcomes, and Correlates in Hispanic Emerging Adults Seth J. Schwartz University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of Immigrant Generation and Parentage on Identity Processes, Outcomes, and Correlates in Hispanic Emerging Adults Seth J. Schwartz University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of Immigrant Generation and Parentage on Identity Processes, Outcomes, and Correlates in Hispanic Emerging Adults Seth J. Schwartz University of Miami Marilyn J. Montgomery, and William M. Kurtines Florida International University Presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD, March 11, 2004

2 The United States is experiencing one of the largest waves of immigration in its history. Unlike earlier waves of immigration, the majority of current immigrants are nonwhite and do not descend from European countries. Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing immigrant or ethnic group in the United States today: - 49% of current U.S. immigrants - 13% of the total U.S. population (Marotta & Garcia, 2003). Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group in the United States: -nearly 40% of the Hispanic population under age therefore, the number of Hispanic emerging adults will increase greatly in the coming years.

3 The growth and youthfulness of the Hispanic population has important implications for university educational systems. Minority and immigrant students often report negative experiences at university directly related to their ethnicity or immigrant status (Grieger & Toliver, 2001). Academic performance in university is strongly predicted by a sense of identity and of psychological agency (Côté & Levine, 1997, 2000). A sense of identity and of psychological agency may help to protect individuals against the effects of negative experiences (Côté & Levine, 2002). The likelihood of finishing college is negatively related to such negative experiences (Zea, Reisen, Beil, & Caplan, 1997).

4 Acculturation-Related Variables: Immigrant Generation and Parentage Findings suggesting that personal identity and well-being may differ across successive generations of immigrants: Kao (1999) -- psychological well-being was lower in immigrant youth than in other youth. Harker (2001) -- once demographic variables were held constant, psychological well-being was higher in first-generation (foreign-born) immigrant adolescents than in second-generation (U.S.-born) adolescents from immigrant families. Schwartz and Montgomery (2002) -- personal identity (goals, values, and beliefs) may be somewhat compromised in second-generation immigrant emerging adults.

5 Acculturation-Related Variables: Immigrant Generation and Parentage Although examining emerging adult university students by immigrant generation has many advantages, this strategy neglects differences within generations. One such difference is whether the emerging adults parents are from the same country or from different countries. Same versus mixed parentage may affect the extent to which first and second generation immigrant emerging adults are able to use the university experience to explore alternatives and develop a sense of agency. Further, parentage may have different effects for first than second generation immigrant emerging adults.

6 Method Sample 315 Hispanic emerging adults (65 males, 250 females) attending a large, urban public university in Miami Mean age 21.5 years, with 93% between 18 and % of participants were born in the United States, and 40% were immigrants. All had at least one Hispanic immigrant parent. 73% indicated that both their parents were born in the same country, and 27% indicated that their parents were born in different countries. Participants born in the United States were significantly more likely (80%) than were immigrant participants (69%) to report that their parents were both born in the same country.

7 Method Sample The most common countries of origin were Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Measures Identity Processes Exploration and Commitment – Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (Balistreri, Busch-Rossnagel, & Geisinger, 1995) Identity Decision-Making Style – Identity Style Inventory (Berzonsky, 1997). Measures 3 styles of handling important life choices: 1. Informational – explores and flexibly commits 2. Normative – conforms and follows rules 3. Diffuse/Avoidant – procrastinates and avoids

8 Method Measures Identity Outcomes Identity Status – Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (Bennion & Adams, 1986) Agentic Personality and Well-Being Internal Locus of Control - Locus of Control Scale (Rotter, 1966) Ego Strength - Ego Strength Scale (Epstein, 1983) Self-Esteem - Self-Esteem Inventory (Coopersmith, 1981) Purpose in Life – Purpose in Life Scale (Crumbaugh & Maholick, 1969)

9 Results Analytic Plan Two steps for each set of variables: 1. 2 (Generation) X 2 (Parentage) MANOVA, followed by univariates 2. Planned follow-up analyses: Same-parentage group: Cubans (50% of sample) vs. non-Cubans Mixed-parentage group: parents from 2 Hispanic countries vs. 1 parent born in US Identity Processes (Exploration and Commitment) Main effect of Generation on ideological identity commitment Foreign-born Hispanics significantly higher than U.S.-born Hispanics, F (1, 192) = 6.23, p <.02, 2 =.03 Generation X Parentage interaction on ideological identity exploration, F (1, 192) = 5.48, p <.03, 2 =.03

10 Results Identity Processes (Exploration and Commitment) t (81) = 2.45, p <.02, d =.25. Ideological commitment was significantly higher for participants whose parents were born in different Hispanic countries (M = 29.00) than for those for whom one parent was born in the United States (M = 25.50). Planned Follow-Up Analyses

11 Results Identity Processes (Decision-Making Style) Significant Generation X Parentage interaction effects on the normative style and on the diffuse/avoidant style. Planned follow-up analyses did not produce any significant results. Diffuse/Avoidant StyleNormative Style t (81) = 4.06, p <.001, d = 1.02 t (119) = 2.32, p <.05, d =.47

12 Results Identity Outcomes (Identity Status) Generation X Parentage interaction effects on both ideological and interpersonal foreclosure. Ideological ForeclosureInterpersonal Foreclosure t (79) = 2.04, p <.05, d =.52 t (119) = 2.50, p <.02, d =.51 t (66) = 2.85, p <.01, d =.56

13 Results Identity Outcomes (Status) Follow-Up Analyses A significant main effect of mixed-parentage type emerged for interpersonal foreclosure, F (1, 49) = 4.83, p <.04, 2 =.09. Interpersonal foreclosure scores were significantly higher for participants with one U.S.-born parent (M = 17.07) than for those whose parents were born in different Hispanic countries (M = 13.67).

14 Results Psychological Agency and Well-Being Main effects of Generation on all four agency/well-being variables: VariableForeign Born (M, SD) U.S.-Born (M, SD) F Ratio Self-Esteem90.75 (13.94)83.49 (14.73) *** ( 2 =.08) Purpose in Life45.96 (6.81)43.84 (6.64) 7.82 ** ( 2 =.04) Internal Locus of Control (3.55)17.27 (3.24) 7.17 ** ( 2 =.04) Ego Strength91.03 (14.46)87.17 (12.73) 6.36 * ( 2 =.03) * p <.05 ** p <.01 *** p <.001

15 Results Psychological Agency and Well-Being Planned Follow-Up Analyses For participants whose parents were both from the same country, a Nationality X Generation interaction emerged for self-esteem. t (56) = 2.11, p <.05, d =.58 t (58) = 2.41, p <.02, d =.51

16 Discussion and Conclusions Effects of generation and parentage on identity processes were limited to the ideological domains. Mixed parentage was linked with greater exploration for foreign-born Hispanics, but with greater foreclosure and diffuse/avoidance for U.S.- born Hispanics. Indices of agency and well-being were greater in foreign-born Hispanics than in in U.S.-born Hispanics. Foreign-born Cubans had higher self-esteem than foreign-born non- Cuban Hispanics – but U.S.-born Cubans had lower self-esteem than U.S.-born non-Cuban Hispanics.

17 Implications for College and University Policies Second-generation Hispanic immigrant students whose parents are from different countries may be trying to straddle three cultures at once (mothers, fathers, and American), and may benefit from help negotiating emerging adult identity issues. Second-generation Hispanics with mixed parentage may need more help negotiating identity issues than may other Hispanic students. Because of their lowered agency and well-being, second-generation Hispanics may be at heightened risk for dropout and other negative academic outcomes.


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