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Cultural Transmission in Mexican American Families: Considering Youth's Active Role in their Cultural Development

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The adaptation and integration of the mainstream and ethnic culture are important processes to understand as they have been associated with immigrant and minority youth's adjustment and family dynamics. However, few studies focusing on youth's cultural experiences have explored youth's

The adaptation and integration of the mainstream and ethnic culture are important processes to understand as they have been associated with immigrant and minority youth's adjustment and family dynamics. However, few studies focusing on youth's cultural experiences have explored youth's active role in their own cultural development, and even less have explored youth's role in influencing parents' cultural development. In the current dissertation, two studies addressed these issues by using a within-family longitudinal design to explore 246 Mexican American youth's role in their own and their families' cultural development. The first study examined the reciprocal associations in parents' and two offspring's cultural values to examine developmental differences in parent-youth socialization processes. Overall, the importance of mothers' values was highlighted as a significant predictor of increases in youths' values, five years later. In addition, Study 1 highlighted situations where youth play an active role in their parents' cultural development as youths' lower endorsement of respect for elders values was associated with increases in fathers' value endorsement, five years later. The second study explored the associations between youth's imitation and de-identification from parents and parent-youth incongruence in Mexican and Anglo cultural orientations. Youths' active role in their cultural development was underscored, as youths' reports of de-identifying from parents were linked to more incongruence in parent-youth Anglo orientations. Further, important family characteristics (i.e., parent-youth warmth and demographic similarities) were shown to predict youths' more imitation and less de-identification from parents.

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2012

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Examining neighborhood, maternal, and cultural influences on Mexican-origin adolescent mothers' educational outcomes

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Mexican-origin adolescent females have the highest birthrate of all other ethnic groups in the U.S. Further, teen mothers are at significant risk for poor outcomes, including low educational attainment. Therefore, examining predictors of Mexican-origin teen mothers' educational attainment was the

Mexican-origin adolescent females have the highest birthrate of all other ethnic groups in the U.S. Further, teen mothers are at significant risk for poor outcomes, including low educational attainment. Therefore, examining predictors of Mexican-origin teen mothers' educational attainment was the main goal of the current study. Future-oriented beliefs such as educational aspirations and expectations are suggested to have positive implications for adolescents' educational attainment in general. Therefore, guided by bioecological, social capital, status attainment, social learning, and collective socialization of neighborhood theories, the current study examined neighborhood, maternal, and cultural predictors of 190 Mexican-origin parenting adolescents' educational aspirations, expectations, and attainment. With respect to maternal predictors, the study examined mother figures' (i.e., grandmothers') educational attainment, and aspirations and expectations for the adolescent as predictors of adolescents' educational attainment. Using a multi-informant, longitudinal analytic model, results suggest that adolescents' educational expectations, rather than aspirations, significantly predicted adolescents' attainment one year later. Additionally, grandmothers' educational attainment was indirectly associated with adolescents' educational attainment via the educational expectations of both the grandmother and the adolescent. Further, the neighborhood context indirectly informed adolescents' educational attainment via both grandmothers and adolescents' educational expectations. Finally, adolescents' ethnic identity affirmation was significantly associated with adolescents' educational attainment two years later. Implications regarding the importance of educational expectations and ethnic identity affirmation for at-risk parenting adolescents' educational attainment will be discussed.

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2014

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Equine Assisted Learning: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Families

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Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy which is being used increasingly to promote mental health in both adults and children. This study sought to build and deliver an evidence-based, family-centered equine assisted learning program aimed at promoting family function, family satisfaction and child social-emotional competence, and to measure its acceptability and preliminary effect.

Method: Twenty families with children 10 years and older were recruited to participate in a 3-week equine assisted learning program at a therapeutic riding center in Phoenix, Arizona. Sessions included groundwork activities with horses used to promote life skills using experiential learning theory. The study design included a mixed-method quasi-experimental one-group pretest posttest design using the following mental health instruments: Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment, Brief Family Assessment Measure (3 dimensions), and Family Satisfaction Scale to measure child social-emotional competence, family function, and family satisfaction, respectively. Acceptability was determined using a Likert-type questionnaire with open-ended questions to gain a qualitative thematic perspective of the experience.

Results: Preliminary pretest and posttest comparisons were statistically significant for improvements in family satisfaction (p = 0.001, M = -5.84, SD = 5.63), all three domains of family function (General Scale: p = 0.005, M = 6.84, SD = 9.20; Self-Rating Scale: p = 0.050, M = 6.53, SD = 12.89; and Dyadic Relationship Scale: p = 0.028, M = 3.47, SD = 7.18), and child social-emotional competence (p = 0.015, M = -4.05, SD 5.95). Effect sizes were moderate to large (d > 0.5) for all but one instrument (Self-Rating Scale), suggesting a considerable magnitude of change over the three-week period. The intervention was highly accepted among both children and adults. Themes of proximity, self-discovery, and regard for others emerged during evaluation of qualitative findings. Longitudinal comparisons of baseline and 3-month follow-up remain in-progress, a topic available for future discussion.

Discussion: Results help to validate equine assisted learning as a valuable tool in the promotion of child social-emotional intelligence strengthened in part by the promotion of family function and family satisfaction. For mental health professionals, these results serve as a reminder of the alternatives that are available, as well as the importance of partnerships within the community. For therapeutic riding centers, these results help equine professionals validate their programs and gain a foothold within the scientific community. Additionally, they invite future riding centers to follow course in incorporating evidence into their programs and examining new directions for growth within the mental health community.

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2019-05-02