Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christia S. Brown

Abstract

The current study addressed the deficiency in research by examining risk factors for immigrant children that may lead to academic disengagement (such as ethnic discrimination by peers and teachers, and psychological distress) and resilience factors that promote academic engagement (such as the development of a positive ethnic identity). Children who had stronger, more positive ethnic identities had more positive academic attitudes. Furthermore, the more the children were teased by their peers and graded unfairly by their teachers because of their ethnicity, the more they thought school was less important, less useful and felt less efficacious about school and valued school less. Also as expected, the more the children perceived discrimination, the more depressed and anxious they felt. Perceptions of discrimination negatively predicted self-regulation such that children who perceived more discrimination were less capable of regulating their attention and inhibitory control. In turn, children who were less able to self-regulate reported more psychological distress and lower academic attitudes. These results support the importance of supporting children’s ethnic identities, being sensitive to perceived discrimination experiences, and working to offset depression and anxiety. Other important implications include using the school setting and including teachers in an active way to influence the children’s environment.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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