Acculturative context, family functioning, and adjustment in Hispanic adolescent girls

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Peter Mundy - Committee Chair


The present study was conducted as an effort to increase understanding of the effects of gaps in acculturation between Hispanic parents and their children on family functioning and child adjustment. This study builds on previous cross sectional research by Szapocznik and colleagues with a clinical population of Hispanic adolescent boys and their mothers by investigating these relationships longitudinally in a sample of 150 Hispanic adolescent girls and their mothers. This study incorporates a multidimensional approach to the measurement of acculturation and acculturation gaps. The effects of gaps in Biculturalism on family functioning and Latina internalizing and externalizing problems are tested within independent longitudinal and causal models. Measures of family conflict, family support, child report of internalizing and externalizing problems, and mother report of daughter's internalizing and externalizing symptoms are included in this study. Results reveal significant longitudinal and causal relations between bicultural gaps and variables of externalizing behavior and family support and provide additional support for the notion that girls with a bicultural orientation display greater levels of positive adaptation. Person-centered analyses point to distinct trajectories in acculturative responses among Latinas and their mothers. Implications for understanding the associations among discrepancies in cultural orientation between Hispanic adolescent girls and their mothers, family functioning and psychological adjustment are discussed.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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