Current Projects

Cultural Discontinuity Scale Development

The national issue of academic achievement gap in students’ performance across racial/ethnic groups underscores the need to address educational inequity that immigrant and minority students encounter in their schooling. Researchers have characterized the dominant U.S. school culture as a “White middle class” system, a culturally discontinuous environment, which is not compatible with the home culture of immigrant or minority students. The research project aims to develop a scale that measures the specific aspects of cultural discontinuity experienced among immigrant and minority students in the context of their schooling, such as differences in language, values, behavioral expectations, and interaction patterns with peers and teachers. The development of the Cultural Discontinuity scale will contribute to the current literature by empirically measuring the construct of cultural discontinuity.

Risk and Protective Factors for Latino College Students

Latinos are largely underrepresented in the college and university setting, accounting for only 7% of the population in higher education (National Center for Education Statistics, 1998 cited in Castillo et al., 2004). In addition, Latinos’ college completion rate has been reported to be lower than the rates of other racial/ethnic groups (Garcia & Bayer, 2008). It is important to find out what challenges these students face in continuing their higher education. The project investigates risk and protective factors associated with their college retention, psychological wellbeing, and academic performance. The outcomes of the project will be useful in developing intervention and prevention programs for Latinos college students.

Future Projects

Educators and researchers have suggested that the acculturation process that immigrant students experience requires more differentiated and nuanced understandings in regard to their developmental outcomes such as academic performance and engagement in problem behaviors. Given the complicated nature of their cultural experiences that involve navigating both cultures, the mainstream and their origin, it is important to differentiate the effects of adopting the mainstream cultural values and practices and maintaining the cultural values and practices of their origin in relation to their developmental adjustment outcomes. The AIM lab intends to advance the understanding of acculturation effects on developmental outcomes among immigrant adolescents.