Ethnic identity and gender as moderators of the association between discrimination and academic adjustment among Mexican-origin adolescents

Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Jessie J. Wong, Nancy A. Gonzales, Larry E. Dumka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


Existing work has identified perceived discrimination as a risk factor that may contribute to the relatively poorer academic outcomes exhibited by Mexican-origin adolescents in the U.S. The current study examined the longitudinal associations among perceived discrimination and three indices of adolescent adjustment in the school setting (i.e., grade point average, teacher reports of externalizing, adolescents' deviant peer associations) among 178 Mexican-origin adolescents (53% female). Ethnic identity affirmation was examined as a protective factor expected to reduce the negative effects of discrimination on adolescents' adjustment, and gender was examined as a potential moderator of the associations of interest. Findings indicated that the deleterious effects of discrimination on adolescents' adjustment in school were particularly salient for Mexican-origin male adolescents. Importantly, ethnic identity affirmation emerged as a protective factor for Mexican-origin male adolescents by buffering the negative effects of discrimination on their externalizing behaviors in school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-786
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012



  • Academic adjustment
  • Discrimination
  • Ethnic identity
  • Latino

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

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