Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

John F. Stevenson


The continuing population growth of Latino/a immigrants in the United States has led to an increase in the study of cultural identity and the adaptive processes that shape that identity. The negative effects of immigrant cultural adjustment on the behavior of Latino and Latina adolescents is an area that has received little research attention to date. Using self-report surveys gathered by a federally funded high risk youth project, this study examined the prediction of high risk behavior in a seventh and eighth grade sample of 131 Latino/a adolescents. A four dimensional cultural identity predictor was used in a multiple regression analysis to assess the relationship to the criterion variable, problem behavior syndrome namely alcohol abuse, sexual activity, and suicide attempts. Results from the multiple regression revealed that Acculturation and Family Loyalty were significantly related to problem behavior. High Acculturation increases risk of problem behavior whereas high Family Loyalty increases resiliency. There were no significant differences across gender and ethnic subgroups. The relevance of this data to prediction of high risk behavior in Latino/a adolescents and the implications for future research and prevention programs are discussed.



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