Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding how biculturalism contributes to Latinas' pursuit of higher education
by Dominguez, Mariana, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2013, 93; 3557649
Abstract (Summary)

Latina/os are the fastest growing minority group in the United States and in California, yet they have not been able to maintain an adequate educational attainment and achievement level in comparison to other ethnic groups (Marin & Marin, 1991). Typically, Latinas are not able to achieve the amount of education they set out to accomplish because of factors such as poverty, family responsibilities, attending low quality primary and secondary schools, being placed in lower tracked classes, poor self-image, a limit in community resources, gender role expectations and the lack of role models (Zambrana & Zoppi, 2002). It is essential to examine how Latinas are able to integrate their families' expectations, the community, perception of campus climate, and coping styles through the pursuit of the higher education process.

This study explores how cultural, social and psychological factors contribute to pursuing the attainment of a bachelor's degree utilizing bicultural identity theory. It is hypothesized that biculturalism is associated with Latinas being able to attain and achieve a bachelor's degree because of their ability to navigate through various environments in which they can adapt.

Nine current undergraduate women that identify as Latinas were interviewed. The participants each answered a demographic questionnaire during the qualification telephone interview as well as two demographic questions during the actual interview. The participants' age ranged between 18-36 years old with the mean age being 21-years-old. All the participants live in Northern California. All nine participants identify as Latina. Four participants attend San Jose State University, two attend California State University, Stanislaus, one attends the University of California at Berkeley, one attends Chico State University and one attends Santa Clara University.

There are several significant themes that emerged from the interviews and they include: 1. Cultural Awareness and Ethnic Pride 2. Family Support with Pursuing Higher Education 3. Discouragement 4. High School and College Campus Support 5. Peer Support in High School and College 6. Experience of College Peers 7. Self-Motivation and Ambition 8. Role Models 9. Barriers 10. Support Prior to Entering as Well as During College. The results of the study are thoroughly discussed, as well as study limitations, implications for practice, and suggestions for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cerezo, Alison
Commitee: Blum, Stephen, Quevedo, Aurora
School: Alliant International University
Department: San Francisco, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Clinical psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Biculturalism, College experiences, Community involvement, Coping, Family support, Latina college students
Publication Number: 3557649
ISBN: 978-1-303-01074-3
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