Featured Articles Fall 2010

Predictors of Acculturative Stress among Documented and Undocumented Latino Immigrants
Consuelo Arbona, Norma Olvera, Nestor Rodriguez, Jacqueline Hagan, Adriana Linares, and Margit Wiesner
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 32(3):362-384, 2010
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Abstract: The purpose of the study was to examine differences between documented and undocumented Latino immigrants in the prevalence of three immigration-related challenges (separation from family, traditionality, and language difficulties), which were made more severe after the passage of restrictive immigration legislation in 1996. Specifically, the study sought to determine the combined and unique associations of legal status, the three immigration-related challenges listed above, and fear of deportation to acculturative stress related to family and other social contexts. Participants in the study consisted of 416 documented and undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants living in two major cities in Texas. The Hispanic Stress Inventory-Immigrant form was used to assess acculturative stress in the sample. Results indicated that although undocumented immigrants reported higher levels of the immigration challenges of separation from family, traditionality, and language difficulties than documented immigrants, both groups reported similar levels of fear of deportation. Results also indicated that the immigration challenges and undocumented status were uniquely associated with extrafamilial acculturative stress but not with intrafamilial acculturative stress. Only fear of deportation emerged as a unique predictor of both extrafamililal and intrafamilial acculturative stress.

The Influence of Union Instability and Union Quality on Children's Aggressive Behavior
Paula Fomby and Cynthia Osborne
Social Science Research 39(6):912-924, 2010
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Abstract: We investigate whether mother's poor union quality attenuates the association between union instability and young children's behavioral adjustment. Using data from three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study to consider children born to married or cohabiting mothers (N = 1730), we determine that children who have experienced poor union quality between mothers and their partners have higher predicted aggressive behavior scores at age 3, regardless of whether they have experienced union transitions, compared to children who have experienced high-quality, stable unions. Children who have experienced instability in the context of higher-quality unions and relatively less acrimonious dissolutions are similar to children raised in high-quality stable unions in terms of predicted aggressive behavior scores.

Parental Acceptance and Illegal Drug Use among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adolescents: Results from a National Survey
Yolanda C. Padilla, Catherine Crisp, and Donna Lynn Rew
Social Work 55(1):265-275, 2010
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Abstract: Although gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) adolescents face many of the same developmental challenges as do heterosexual adolescents, they must also deal with the stress of being part of a stigmatized group. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which family support and involvement with the queer community may buffer the effects of life stress on substance use among GLB youths. Drawing on a large national online survey, the authors examined drug use in 1,906 GLB youths 12 to 17 years of age. Overall, 20 percent of the youths reported using illegal substances in the past 30 days. Results from multivariate analyses revealed that stress, as measured by suicidal ideation, significantly increased the risk of drug use. A positive reaction from the mother to the youth's coming out served as a significant protective factor, whereas involvement in a queer youth group had no effect. The authors found evidence that, for GLB adolescents, parental acceptance of sexual identity is an important aspect of a strong family relationship and, thus, has important ramifications for their healthy development. Implications of the findings for social work practice are discussed.

Beyond the Epidemiological Paradox: The Health of Mexican American Children at Age 5
Yolanda C. Padilla, Erin R Hamilton, and Robert A Hummer
Social Science Quarterly 90(5):1072-1088
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Abstract: Objective. This study investigates how prenatal demographic, social, and behavioral characteristics of Mexican-origin immigrant mothers, which are linked to their relatively healthy birth outcomes, influence the subsequent health of their children in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups. Methods. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study on a cohort of 2,819 children born between 1998 and 2000 to analyze chronic health conditions at age five using logistic regression models. Results. Multivariate analyses revealed no significant differences in chronic health conditions between children of Mexican immigrant mothers and non-Hispanic white children, controlling for socioeconomic status and access to healthcare. In contrast, children of U.S.-born Mexican-American mothers had significantly higher odds of chronic conditions compared to non-Hispanic white children. Social support and health-care use were related to child health outcomes but did not explain racial and ethnic differences. Conclusions. Health policy must respond in order to help maintain the healthy outcomes of Mexican-American children of immigrants and reverse the deteriorating health of children in subsequent generations in light of considerable socioeconomic disadvantage and inadequate access to healthcare.

Black-White Inequality in Reading and Math Across K-12 Schooling: A Synthetic Cohort Perspective
Keith Robinson
The Review of Black Political Economy 37(3/4):263-273, 2010
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Abstract: While much has been written on the racial gap in achievement, few national studies have assessed the gap's trajectory over K-12 schooling. The reason for this is understandable-most national data sets do not contain respondent information for this entire educational period. I utilize survey data from three national data sets containing White and Black students to document the trajectory of reading and math inequality between school entry and the end of high school. An attempt to clarify these observed patterns is made by assessing changes in the score distributions of these students across grade level, and examining how Black score distributions would fare if held to the White score distributions. Findings suggest that efforts to equalize achievement disparities must not only focus on "bringing the bottom up", but also on keeping the top Black achievers on pace with the top White achievers across grade level.

Disproportionality and Learning Disabilities: Parsing Apart Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Language
Dara Shifrer, Chandra Muller, and Rebecca Callahan
Journal of Learning Disabilities 44(3):246-257, 2010
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Abstract: The disproportionate identification of learning disabilities among certain sociodemographic subgroups, typically groups that are already disadvantaged, is perceived as a persistent problem within the education system. The academic and social experiences of students who are misidentified with a learning disability may be severely restricted, whereas students with a learning disability who are never identified are less likely to receive the accommodations and modifications necessary to learn at their maximum potential. The authors use the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to describe national patterns in learning disability identification. Results indicate that sociodemographic characteristics are predictive of identification with a learning disability. Although some conventional areas of disproportionality are confirmed (males and language minorities), differences in socioeconomic status entirely account for African American and Hispanic disproportionality. The discrepancy between the results of bivariate and multivariate analyses confirms the importance of employing multivariate multilevel models in the investigation of disproportionality.