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- Developmental psychology
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- National Science Foundation
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Profiles of Language Brokering Experiences and Contextual Stressors: Implications for Adolescent Outcomes in Mexican Immigrant FamiliesAdolescents from Mexican immigrant families are often embedded in a challenging social environment and experience multiple contextual stressors, including economic stress, discrimination, and foreigner stress. We consider how the effects of these contextual stressors may be amplified or diminished for adolescents who function as language brokers, interpreting and mediating for their English-limited parents. Using two waves of survey data collected from a sample (N = 604 at Wave 1; N = 483 at Wave 2) of Mexican American adolescents with ages ranging from 11 to 15 (Mage = 12.41, 54% female), four distinct brokering – stress profiles were identified. Latent profile analyses revealed that with moderate levels of contextual stress, adolescents with more positive language brokering experiences (protective group) demonstrated more favorable outcomes than those with neutral language brokering experiences (moderate group) and those who did not involve themselves as frequently in language brokering activities (less-involved group). In contrast, high levels of contextual stress, coupled with more negative language brokering experiences (risk group), produced the least favorable outcomes among adolescents.
Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions: Language brokering (LB) is an informal translation experience where bilinguals serve as linguistic and cultural intermediaries for family members. LB may have long-term socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes, yet little is known about its effects on executive functions (EFs). This study examines how first language (L1) proficiency and negative emotions tied to language brokering experiences affect EF performance on a Simon task (ST). Design/methodology/approach: Fifty-three Mexican American Spanish–English bilinguals with LB experience performed a ST, and reported their feelings towards LB for their mother. Data and analysis: Mean reaction times (RTs) and accuracy rates for correct ST trials were analyzed using linear mixed effects modeling, with trial type, proficiency and negative emotions tied to LB experience as factors and their interactions as additional predictors. Findings/conclusions: The L1 proficiency and negative emotions tied to brokering experiences have divergent, but combined effects on EF. Contrary to our hypotheses, low L1 proficiency predicted better performance and the smallest Simon effect was found for brokers with low L1 proficiency and low negative emotional brokering experiences. However, high L1 proficiency predicted better performance (smallest RTs) regardless of negative emotions tied to brokering experiences. Originality: This study takes a different perspective on themore »
Pathways linking ethnic discrimination and drug-using peer affiliations to underage drinking status among Mexican-origin adolescentsUsing a three-wave longitudinal data set of Mexican-origin adolescents (N = 602, Mage = 12.92, SD = 0.91 at Wave 1), this study examines parallel pathways from early exposure to ethnic discrimination and drug-using peers, separately, to underage drinking status by late adolescence. Negative affect was expected to mediate the link from ethnic discrimination to underage drinking status (the stress-induced pathway), whereas social alcohol expectancy was expected to mediate the link from drug-using peers to underage drinking status (the socialization pathway). Our findings lend support to the stress-induced pathway while controlling for the socialization pathway. For the stress-induced pathway, we found that early ethnic discrimination experiences were related to higher likelihood of having engaged in underage drinking by late adolescence through elevated negative affect sustained across adolescence. For the socialization pathway, we found no association between affiliation with drug-using peers in early adolescence and underage drinking status, either directly or indirectly. Present findings highlight the unique role of early ethnic discrimination experiences in underage drinking among Mexican-origin adolescents, over and above the effect of drug-using peers. Alcohol use interventions targeting ethnic minority adolescents should account for adolescents' ethnic discrimination experiences by helping adolescents develop adaptive coping strategies to handle negativemore »
Contextualizing Bicultural Competence Across Youths’ Adaptation From High School to College: Prospective Associations With Mental Health and Substance Use
Bicultural competence, the ability to navigate bicultural demands, is a salient developmental competency for youths of color linked with positive adjustment. In this study, we investigated how discrimination experiences informed developmental trajectories of behavioral and affective bicultural competence across youths’ adaptation from high school to college and how these biculturalism trajectories predicted later adjustment (i.e., internalizing symptoms and binge drinking). Data were collected between 2016 and 2020 and included 206 U.S. Latino youths (mean age = 17.59 years, 64% female, 85% Mexican origin, 11% first-generation immigrants, and 62% second-generation immigrants). Linear latent growth analyses revealed that youths who experienced greater time-varying discrimination demonstrated lower concurrent behavioral and affective bicultural competence. Higher behavioral bicultural competence intercepts were associated with fewer internalizing symptoms in the third college year. No other significant associations emerged for internalizing symptoms or binge drinking. These findings have implications for mental-health equity among Latino youths during a critical period of psychopathology onset.
Objectives: Though previous research has indicated that language brokering can be stressful, the findings are mixed, pointing to potential moderators of the association. Guided by an ecological perspective, we examined the role of individual, family, and environmental factors in Mexican American adolescents’ acute cortisol responses to language brokering. Method: The study consisted of 46 Mexican American adolescents recruited around a metropolitan city in Central Texas. Participants translated a difficult medical document from English to Spanish for their parents, followed by an arithmetic task (modeled after the Trier Social Stress Test [TSST]). Participants’ perceptions (perceived efficacy and parental dependence), parental hostility, and discrimination experiences were assessed via self-report and were examined as moderators of adolescents’ responses to the task. Results: Results revealed differential responses to the task based on individual, family, and environmental factors. High efficacy and low dependence−parental hostility−discrimination related to stress responses characterized by low baselines, steeper reactivity, and faster recovery. Low efficacy and high dependence related to greater baseline stress and a slower recovery. High levels of parental hostility related to a slower recovery. High levels of discrimination related to greater baseline stress. Conclusions: The study demonstrates that the modified TSST task can elicit an acute hypothalamic−pituitary−adrenal axismore »