A bidimensional model to examine the effects of parent and adolescent biculturation strategies on family functioning and behavior problems

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Chair


The present study examined the interaction of adolescent and parent biculturation strategies in relation to family functioning and adolescent behavior problems in a sample of 346 Hispanic immigrant families living in Miami, Florida. Participating parents and adolescents were enrolled in an adolescent drug use and sexual risk behavior prevention study. Data for the analyses were taken from the baseline assessment for the larger prevention study. Biculturation was measured using the Biculturation Involvement Questionnaire-Revised (Birman, 1998; Szapocznik et al., 1980), which independently assess parents' and adolescents' levels of orientation toward both American (Americanism) and Hispanic (Hispanicism) culture. Hispanicism scores and Americanism scores were recoded onto a four point scale representing: (1) Very Low, scores below 40; (2) Low, scores between 41 and 59; (3) High, scores between 60 and 79; and (4) Very High, scores above 80. This procedure created four biculturation groups, which were fair representations of the typologies suggested in the literature by Berry (1980): Marginalization (low Hispanicism, low Americanism), Separation (high Hispanicism, low Americanism), Assimilation (low Hispanicism, high Americanism), and Integration (high Hispanicism, high Americanism). A crosstabulation was conducted between the four adolescent biculturation strategies and the four parent biculturation strategies to create a 4x4 matrix with 16 possible cells. In this matrix, each cell represents a parent-adolescent biculturation strategy combination. Results indicated that assimilated adolescents whose parents had a separated biculturation strategy reported the poorest family functioning, and that integrated parents whose children also endorsed an integrated biculturation strategy reported the most adaptive family functioning. Adolescent behavior problems did not vary by biculturation strategy pairings. The present study extends the literature on biculturation strategies to better understand how the combination of parent and adolescent biculturation strategies may be related to family functioning.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Developmental; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies; Hispanic American Studies

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