Language brokering among Latino middle school students : relations with academic achievement, self-efficacy, and acculturative stress
MetadataShow full item record
Child language brokers frequently translate in adult-level situations. Research has suggested that through translating, brokers may develop advanced language, cognitive, and social skills (De Ment, Buriel, and Villanueva, 2005; McQuillan and Tse, 1995), and these may lead to greater academic achievement and self-efficacy (Buriel, Perez, De Ment, Chavez,and Moran, 1998). Additionally, language brokers have been found to increase in biculturalism as they translate for people of different cultures (Acoach and Webb, 2004; Buriel et al., 1998). Brokers might experience reduced acculturative stress, for which biculturalism has been found to be a protective factor (Bacallao and Smokowski, 2005). Despite its possible benefits, brokering has been associated with negative emotions and behavioral problems for some children (Chao, 2006; Weisskirch and Alva, 2002). The mixed results of language brokering studies may partially be related to the age of participants, with translating appearing to be a more positive experience for older adolescents (Orellana and Reynolds, 2008). The purpose of this study was to test relations among language brokering, academic achievement, academic self-efficacy, social self-efficacy, and acculturative stress. I proposed and tested if language brokering was associated with more positive outcomes. In addition, I tested if older brokers had more positive outcomes than younger brokers. Participants included 207 Latino middle school students, aged 10 to 14 years, who completed self-report surveys. Measures included a background demographics questionnaire and scales for language brokering, academic self-efficacy, social self-efficacy, and acculturative stress. Achievement was measured with grades from school records. Results were non-significant for the relation of language brokering with achievement and social self-efficacy when controlling for other predictor variables. In contrast to expectations, translating for more people was associated with decreased academic self-efficacy and greater acculturative stress. Further analysis revealed that language brokering for parents and grandparents was associated with greater acculturative stress, while translating for other people was not. Although translating was associated with more acculturative stress, and older children reported less acculturative stress, age was not found to moderate the relation of language brokering and acculturative stress. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future directions in language brokering research and clinical work are presented.