Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Celeste Jones, PsyD
Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD
Marie-Christine Goodworth, PhD
For immigrants, assimilation into mainstream society is complex, with numerous layers and experiences across multiple settings (e.g., employment, education, healthcare). In addition, immigrant populations are underserved and under-resourced compared to native populations, with major systemic barriers that influence socioeconomic status as well as immigrant ability to maximize education and employment potential. In turn, these difficulties have an adverse impact on psychosocial wellbeing in immigrants broadly. Immigrant youth are a particularly vulnerable population facing an even more complex set of barriers and challenges in addition to the typical challenges associated with identity development in adolescence. However, multiple factors have been explored as predictors of their psychosocial wellbeing for immigrant youth. These have included socioeconomic status, educational achievement, discrimination at school, acculturation orientation (English language development, familism), and relationships (family cohesion and close friendships). This study was interested in exploring the influence of these variables on feelings of sadness and depression in immigrant youth. In order to explore these variables, the Children of Immigrants longitudinal study (CILS; Portes & Rumbaut, 1991-2006) was used. The CILS data set offered the ability to explore the experiences of immigrant youths at two time periods (Time 1 in 1992 and Time 2 in 1995). It was hypothesized that the Time 1 predictors (socioeconomic status, educational aspiration versus perceived achievement ability, discrimination, primary language, parent/respondent acculturation discrepancy, parent/ respondent clash frequency, and number of close friendships) would predict feelings of sadness and depression at both Time 1 and Time 2. Secondly, it was hypothesized that the Time 2 predictors (educational aspiration versus perceived achievement ability, discrimination, parent/respondent acculturation discrepancy, parent/respondent clash frequency) would predict feelings of sadness and depression at Time 2. Regression results showed that the key factors which influenced youth immigrant’s reports of sadness and depression at times 1 and 2, include the immigrant’s experiences of discrimination, educational aspirations versus achievement, parent/child clash frequency, and number of close friendships. While working with this particularly vulnerable group, it is important for providers (educators, social workers, mental health providers, and medical providers) to be aware of key factors.
Karam, Shaza A., "Psychosocial Adjustment in Children of Immigrants" (2019). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 295.