Stress process of adjustment problems among adolescents in immigrant families: Generational differences

Hyekyung Choo, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Despite additional difficulties entailed by migration and acculturation, the psychosocial adjustment of first generation youth has been found to be similar to or more resilient than that of second generation youth. The evidence implies that protective factors, such as social support, may mediate the relationships between acculturative stressors (intergenerational strain and perceived discrimination) and adjustment problems (emotional distress and behavioral problems) for first generation youth. This study examined whether parental support and peer support directly influence and mediate the impacts of acculturative stressors on adjustment problems for each generation group and how the stress process of adjustment problems differs by generation status. I analyzed two waves of longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of 762 youth in grades 7 through 12 (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 1994–1995). Using a Structural Equation Modeling method, a series of path analyses was conducted separately for each generation group. Among 266 first generation youth, the direct effects and the mediating effects of parental support for intergenerational strain were significant on emotional distress and behavioral problems. Yet, no direct effects of acculturative stressors and no mediating effect of peer support were significant on both adjustment problems. Among 496 second generation youth, no mediating effects of either parental or peer support on emotional distress and behavioral problems were found. Instead, the direct effects of acculturative stressors and peer support on emotional distress and the direct effects of acculturative stressors on behavioral problems were significant. The findings indicate that while first generation youth may be benefited from the supportive relationship with parents in psychosocial adjustment, the high susceptibility to acculturative stressors may be a major contributor to adjustment problems among second generation youth. Generational differences in the stress process of adjustment problems provide a social context that has implications for different service intervention approaches for each generation group. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Social Work|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Hyekyung Choo, "Stress process of adjustment problems among adolescents in immigrant families: Generational differences" (January 1, 2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3179716.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3179716

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