Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immigrant Youths Explore Identity In High School

Date:
July 15, 2008
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Research conducted among 380 high school students from Asian and Latin American immigrant families revealed that many adolescents change the labels used to describe themselves from year to year. Teens that grew up in immigrant families largely chose hyphenated labels (e.g. Mexican-American). First-generation teens (born outside of the US) more often chose a national origin label (e.g. Chinese). The findings underscore that adolescence is a time of changing identification with American society for immigrant teens.

Children from immigrant families are assumed to give up their families' ethnic and cultural background in order to assimilate with American culture. But a new study shows that in fact, they find ways to combine their cultural heritage with their identification as members of American society, especially during the high school years. The types of labels they create and use could foreshadow the types of labels used by the larger society in the years to come.

Related Articles


The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, and Williamette University.

"Given that immigrant families comprise the large majority of those with Asian and Latin American backgrounds and that these are the two fastest rising ethnic groups in the United States, the outcome of these explorations will have implications for the nature of ethnic categories and ethnic identity in the broader society," according to Andrew J. Fuligni, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the study's lead author.

The researchers studied about 380 adolescents from Asian and Latin American immigrant families in Los Angeles over the course of four years of high school. The youths chose from a long list of ethnic labels that included terms referring to national origin (such as Mexican), pan-ethnic terms (such as Asian), and terms including the word "American" (such as American or Asian American). They study also assessed adolescents' degree of attachment to their ethnic background, the amount of exploration they'd done of their cultural heritage, and their proficiency in their families' native language.

Most teenagers who grow up in immigrant families choose a hyphenated label (such as Mexican-American) to describe themselves, according to the study. Moreover, significant numbers of these adolescents change their labels from year to year, suggesting that high school is a time for youths from immigrant families to explore their identities.

The study also found that first-generation teens (i.e., those who were born outside the United States) were more likely to choose a national origin label (such as Chinese) to describe themselves than were second-generation teens (i.e., those who were born in America to foreign-born parents). Furthermore, teens reported higher levels of ethnic attachment, exploration, and native language proficiency during the years in which they selected a national origin label to describe themselves than in other years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fuligni et al. Stability and Change in Ethnic Labeling Among Adolescents From Asian and Latin American Immigrant Families. Child Development, 2008; 79 (4): 944 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01169.x

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Immigrant Youths Explore Identity In High School." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715071432.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2008, July 15). Immigrant Youths Explore Identity In High School. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715071432.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Immigrant Youths Explore Identity In High School." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715071432.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Wearing gas masks and designer dresses, models condemn the fashion industry&apos;s role in causing environmental devastation. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins