Acculturation, peer influence, and academic achievement among Hispanic descent early adolescents

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Kirchunova, Marina, 1969-

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The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relations between acculturation, peer influence, and academic achievement among Hispanic early adolescents. The study utilized an existing data set. The data were based on a survey which was constructed by the principal investigators (Carlson, Lain, Schott, & Uppal, 1998). The sample consisted of 846 early adolescents of Hispanic origin attending three inner-city Southwestern middle schools. The participants were placed on an acculturation continuum, and the relationships between participants’ Acculturation level, Peer Influence, and Academic Achievement (as measured by Self-Reported Grades) were examined with a series of simple linear regressions. The study analyzed a mediational model, within which several hypotheses were tested. It was hypothesized that Acculturation level would contribute significantly to the prediction of Self-Reported grades, that Acculturation level would also contribute significantly to the prediction of Peer Influence, and that the effect of Acculturation on Self-Reported grades should decrease with the inclusion of Peer Influence into the regression equation. All the hypotheses were supported. The results confirmed the mediational model. Findings from the study suggest that peer influence acts as a mediator variable between acculturation levels and academic attainment. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.



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