Linguistic Acculturation and Context on Self-Esteem: Hispanic Youth Between Cultures

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Linguistic acculturation, Hispanics, Fixed effects, Self-esteem Experience Sampling Method (ESM), Hispanic


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Abstract Immigrant adolescents must negotiate two cultures: the host culture and

their native culture. This study explored how self-esteem is moderated by the effect

of linguistic acculturation and context. An ordinary least-squares regression model,

controlling for fixed effects, produced results supporting the hypothesis that

linguistic acculturation moderates the effect of context on self-esteem. The self-esteem of Hispanic adolescents who were less linguistically acculturated was found

to be more favorable when with family than with friends and the reverse was found

for the more linguistically acculturated participants. Adolescents in the middle of

the linguistic acculturation process had the widest variance in self-esteem between

times they were with their families and times in other contexts; they experienced

more positive self-esteem with anyone but family. Findings underscore the need to

better understand the complex process of linguistic acculturation and its effects on

self-esteem. This research also demonstrates the practical utility of a fixed-effects

model for reducing bias in cross-cultural research.

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