Filling Gaps in the Acculturation Gap-Distress Model: Heritage Cultural Maintenance and Adjustment in Mexican–American Families

Eva H. Telzer, Cynthia Yuen, Nancy Gonzales, Andrew J. Fuligni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The acculturation gap-distress model purports that immigrant children acculturate faster than do their parents, resulting in an acculturation gap that leads to family and youth maladjustment. However, empirical support for the acculturation gap-distress model has been inconclusive. In the current study, 428 Mexican–American adolescents (50.2 % female) and their primary caregivers independently completed questionnaires assessing their levels of American and Mexican cultural orientation, family functioning, and youth adjustment. Contrary to the acculturation gap-distress model, acculturation gaps were not associated with poorer family or youth functioning. Rather, adolescents with higher levels of Mexican cultural orientations showed positive outcomes, regardless of their parents’ orientations to either American or Mexican cultures. Findings suggest that youths’ heritage cultural maintenance may be most important for their adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 13 2016

Keywords

  • Acculturation gap
  • Adolescence
  • Culture
  • Family
  • Immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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