Inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification in adolescence and academic performance
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This dissertation uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the linked Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement transcript study to explore how self-identifying as Hispanic/Latino in school but not at home in adolescence is related to academic achievement at the end of high school and educational attainment by young adulthood. It also explores how the relationship between inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification and academic performance varies by Latino family origin and what factors act to mediate this relationship. Finally, it investigates how using school versus home reports of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity in adolescence impacts the measurement of Latino educational progress. This research draws on education literature exploring racial and ethnic differences in academic performance to suggest how and why an inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification might be related to academic performance. This literature is categorized into two broad lines of research, structural and socio-cultural, and suggests two competing understandings of the relationship between inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification and academic performance as well as the factors that may mediate this relationship. This research finds a strong and negative relationship between Hispanic/Latino self-identification in school but not at home and academic performance and that this relationship varies by Latino family origin. It is only among adolescents who do not report Latino family origins that an inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification is negatively associated with academic performance. This research also finds that factors related to socio-cultural explanations of school performance as well as prior academic experiences help to mediate the negative relationship between inconsistent Hispanic/Latino self-identification and academic performance among adolescents who do not report Latino family origins. Additional findings suggest that using home versus school reports of ethnicity may impact estimates of Latino/non-Latino white differences in educational outcomes and Latino generational decline. Results suggest that within schools, a Hispanic/Latino identity, one separated from Hispanic family and community ties, is associated with poor academic performance and resistance to schooling. In addition, this research confirms the fluid and complex nature of racial and ethnic self-identification and suggests using caution when relying on self-reports of race and ethnicity in quantitative data analysis.