The Effect Of Primary Language, Linguistic Background, And Cultural Background On Student Measures Of Socio-Emotional Adjustment.

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Overview

Language has been credited in many lines of research as the best measure of acculturation (Bzostek, Goldman, & Pebley, 2007), and a chief mechanism by which we are enabled to express affect. Thus, the potential for native language to impact thought, and by association affect, has implications for multicultural psychology, with particular relevance in application both for multicultural assessment and psychotherapy. The focus of this dissertation is a further examination the differences in affective meaning and associated implications of a set of widely used approaches to the assessment of socio-emotional functioning of students in middle school grades. This study concentrates on differences among Hispanic and Caucasian student populations both in patterns of responding to measures of the adjustment constructs including depression, self-esteem, daily stress, drug attitudes, drug use and delinquency, where the primary backgrounds and languages of the student or in the home, are Hispanic: Spanish/Spanish; Hispanic: Spanish/English, or Non-Hispanic: English/English. This research proposed a model in which primary language, linguistic background, and/or cultural background plays a mediating role in endorsement for items related to depressive symptomatology, adolescent maladjustment, and deficits in self-esteem among middle school students. The model hypothesizes that an individual's native language has an important relationship with a range of socioemotional competencies of children and adolescents. The research literature suggests significant relationships between primary language and item endorsement on measures of anxiety and depression (Schwartz, Zamboanga, & Jarvis, 2007; Prelow, Loukas, & Jordan-Green, 2007; Corby, Hodges, & Perry, 2007). The influence of primary language on item endorsement can be placed within the context of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity which holds that one's language determines the nature of one's thought (Whorf, 1956). The implications of linguistic relativity are cognitive-behavioral in nature, as the cognitive model holds that the content of one's thoughts and internal speech mediate emotional adjustment and/or maladjustment. Overall results of this study suggest that there are small but statistically significant differences on for the three groups above, Hispanic: Spanish primary language/Spanish spoken in the home; Hispanic: Spanish primary language/English spoken in the home, and Non-Hispanic: English primary language/English spoken in the home, on the six measures of socioemotional adjustment. These differences indicate that persons of 'Hispanic' origin who speak Spanish as either their primary language or their language spoken in the home may report slightly higher levels of maladjustment on the following adjustment constructs: depression, self-esteem, daily stress, drug attitudes, drug use and delinquency. However, it is important to note that effect sizes ranged from moderate to very small, and were, for the most part small. One conclusion drawn is that further research should be done to obtain more specific results. Nonetheless, clinicians, psychometricians, and educators should consider cultural and linguistic variables when interpreting students' self-report on socio-emotional measures, especially if the instruments do not use the students' primary language.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243565365
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 124
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.26 (d)

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