Does biculturalism moderate feelings of loneliness and alienation in Hispanic college students who have different value orientations from their family and peers?

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Carolyn S. Garwood - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Blaine Fowers - Committee Member


A multivariate framework was utilized to explore the relationship between perceived differences between value orientations of Hispanic college students and those of their family and peers, biculturalism, and feelings of loneliness and alienation. A hypothesis was formulated, based on a diathesis-stress model, that biculturalism would serve to moderate feelings of loneliness and alienation which result from feelings of differentness in Hispanic college students in a bicultural context such as that found in Dade County, Florida. Undergraduate Hispanic students were sampled (N = 138) at an urban state university with a high percentage of Hispanic students (48%), particularly on the campus surveyed (55%).Results relating to the hypotheses indicated that there was an inverse relationship between biculturalism and the degree of loneliness and alienation reported by the participants. Furthermore, a direct relationship was apparent between perceived differences in value orientations from those of family members and the degree of loneliness and alienation reported by the participants. However, the relationship between perceived differences from peers and loneliness and alienation was not significant. The diathesis-stress model was not supported as no significant interactions were found between difference from family and biculturalism or between difference from peers and biculturalism. Exploratory analyses indicated that perceived differences in value orientations of students as compared with those of their family were most important in predicting loneliness and alienation for both male and female students. Results also suggested that the pathways to loneliness and alienation in males and females may differ.Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the need to further study the role that feelings of differentness play in the etiology of loneliness and alienation, as well as the importance of biculturalism for Hispanic individuals in facilitating their adaptation to bicultural environments. Results of the exploratory analyses regarding gender differences in prediction of loneliness and alienation are discussed in relation to conceptualizations of gender as being embedded within cultural contexts. Recommendations are made for professionals working with Hispanic individuals to strive to recognize and nurture strengths such as biculturalism in Hispanic individuals and to build bridges across generations in Hispanic families.


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural; Psychology, Social; Education, Educational Psychology; Psychology, Developmental; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

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