Acculturation among Cuban-American adolescents in south Florida: Impact upon self-esteem, deviant behaviors, social isolation and family functioning

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Migration has been described as a process of social change in which individuals may lose the support derived from familiarity, existing social networks, and the values that have assisted them to function in their culture of origin. The sociological study of migration and its effects on the individual has a long and extensive tradition in the United States, and in the social sciences in general. This is not surprising, since the society in the United States has traditionally been composed of a large number of immigrants. The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationships between acculturation, adolescent behavior and family functioning in a sample of Cuban-American male adolescents. More specifically, the study focused on the psychological consequences occasioned by differences in acculturation levels between Cuban-American adolescents and their parents, and on the possible protective role of cultural factors. The sample consisted of 649 Cuban-American middle school students and one of each student's parent. The students filled out a questionnaire in their schools, while the parents were interviewed over the telephone. Both the students and the parents responded to questions dealing with acculturation and acculturation related conflicts. Hypotheses were analyzed using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) and Multiple Regression Analysis. The findings reveal that differentials in acculturation levels between the students and their parents affect the student's self-esteem and deviant behaviors, as well family cohesion, communication and conflicts. However, not all measures of acculturation differentials were associated with the dependent variables. The student's perception of acculturation differentials with the parent was one of the measures most often correlated with the dependent variables. Additionally, cultural factors were found to be related to high self-esteem and low rates of deviance. These findings provide the initial stages in the development of models explaining the effects of acculturation on Cuban-Adolescents and their families.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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