Applied Psychology OPUS

The Immigrant Paradox: Discrimination Stress and Academic Disengagement

Alfredo Daniel Novoa

Latino youth are especially at risk for academic problems and the highest ethnic dropout rates in New York City. Dramatic proportional increases of Latino immigrant students in the education system prompt need for further understanding of social factors that negatively influence student performance in these underserved groups. The present study examined the role that generational status plays in the relation between discrimination stress and academic disengagement by adapting an immigrant paradox framework. Preventing academic disengagement is important when considering factors to reduce a student’s likelihood of dropping out. A cross-sectional sample of Latino adolescents (N=208) from the New York City Academic and Social Engagement Study (NYCASES) was analyzed to assess for the relations between these factors. Analyses found that discrimination stress predicted academic disengagement. Examining the role of generation status revealed first generation status significantly related to academic disengagement, however, second generation did not. Furthermore, generational status did not significantly moderate the relation between discrimination stress and academic disengagement. Understanding students’ experiences as they vary by generation further will help clarify appropriate preventative interventions for the adverse relation between discrimination stress and academic disengagement.