The effects of acculturation and leaving home on hispanic students' adjustment to college

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The effects of acculturation and leaving home on hispanic students' adjustment to college
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Hernandez, Carlos Antonio, 1961-
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Counselor Education thesis Ph. D
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1995.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 89-99)
Statement of Responsibility:
by Carlos Antonio Hernandez.
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Typescript.
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Vita.

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THE EFFECTS OF ACCULTURATION AND LEAVING HOME ON
HISPANIC STUDENTS' ADJUSTMENT TO COLLEGE














By

CARLOS ANTONIO HERNANDEZ


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1995






























Copyright 1995

by

Carlos Antonio Hemandez






























I would like to dedicate this doctoral work to my loving parents, Carlos and Edith,
who instilled in me the importance of getting a good education. Their sacrifices, both
economic and personal, have allowed their four children to receive a college education.
Words can not express the gratitude and affection I have for them. I thank them for being
there when I needed them most.













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

There are so many people I would like to thank, who through the years, offered me

assistance and encouragement in completing this project.

I would like to give my gratitude to my doctoral committee Dr. Gerardo M.

Gonzalez, Chair; Dr. Larry Loesch, Dr. Peter Sherrard, and Dr. David Miller. Without

their guidance and expertise, I would never have attained this degree.

I thank my many friends in the Counselor Education Department, who encouraged

me to "get done and get out of here." I thank my dear friends Mary, Megan, Wayne,

Diane, Anita, and Tim; the staff from the student services office in the College of

Education; Bill for his knowledge of computer software; and my colleagues at the Career

Resource Center, who stood by me in the last years of this project and not once labeled me

as "odd"--for their support and laughs. I want to give special thanks to Linda Lewis,

whose assistance with the statistical programming and friendship gave me the final burst of

energy to get this project completed. I could not have done it without her.

My love and gratitude goes to my family, Carlos, Edith, Edith, Maggie, and

Yolanda, who never gave up on me, and to Michael, who supported me through the darkest

hours and showed me how to enjoy life again. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

And finally, I want to thank all the participants of my study--without their support, this

project would not have been a reality.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS......................vag
ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ............................... ................ iv


ABSTRACT .......


CHAPTERS


1 INTRODUCTION ...................

Theoretical Framework ..........
Statement of the Problem ... .. ..
Need for the Study ...........
Rationale for the Study .......... .
Purpose of the Study .......... .
Research Questions ................
Definition of Terms ................
Organization of the Study .... ....


. . . .. . 1

. . . . 3
. . . .. 1 0
. . . 12
.. 13
.. . 14
. 14
.... . 14
. . . 1 5


2 LITERATURE REVIEW ......................

Adjustment to College ......... .. .. ..............
Hispanics and College Adjustment ... ......
L leaving H om e ............................ ....................
The High School and Beyond (HSB) Survey ......................
Residential Independence and Adulthood .........................
Parental Influence .. ..............
Ethnicity and Residential Independence ............................
Hispanic Americans .....................
A cculturation ..........................
Impact on Hispanic Families ...................
Chapter Summary .... .................


3 METHODOLOGY


Research Questions ........................
Population, Sample, and Selection Procedures ......
Sample .............. ....... ............


. . .. . . 4 2


. . 42
.. .. 43
..... 43








Instrumentation ................................... ... 44
Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire ................... ... 44
Psychological Separation Inventory ......... .......... ..... 46
College Adjustment Scales .................................... 47
Data Collection ................ ................... ........ 49
Relevant Variables and Data Analysis ................................ 50

4 RESULTS .............................................. ........ 51

Data Collection .................. ................. ... ........ 51
Demographic Description of the Research Sample ........ .. .... 51
Data Analyses ........ ........ ....... ... ........ 53
Analyses by Dependent Variables .............................. 53
Research Questions Summaries .............................. .. 70

5 DISCUSSION ................... .... .. .. .... ......... 73

Discussion of Results ................ ............... .. ..... 73
Research Question 1 .......................................... 73
Research Question 2 .................. ................... .. 74
Research Q question 3 ..... .... .. ............... ........ 75
Research Question 4 ........................................ 77
Limitations ............ ... ............. .... .......... 78
Implications of the Findings and Recommendations ......... ........ .. 79
Implications for Theory ...................................... 80
Implications for Universities and Colleges ....................... .. 80
Implications for Future Research ............................... 81
C conclusions ..................................... ........... 82

APPENDICES

A COVER LETTER AND REQUEST TO PARTICIPATE ................ 84

B DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE .............................. 85

C DEMOGRAPHICS OF SAMPLE ............ .................... 87

REFERENCES ............................... ... ............... 89

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................... 100














Abstract of Dissertation to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE EFFECTS OF ACCULTURATION AND LEAVING HOME ON
HISPANIC STUDENTS' ADJUSTMENT TO COLLEGE

By

Carlos Antonio Hernandez

August 1995

Chairman: Gerardo M. Gonzalez
Major Department: Counselor Education

This study investigated the effects of acculturation and the leaving-home transition

on college adjustment for first-time Hispanic college students. Participants were 273 first

semester traditional college age Hispanic students who were surveyed by mail. A total of

155 packets were returned yielding 146 usable surveys (N= 84 females and 62 males).

The Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire, the Psychological Separation Inventory,

and the College Adjustment Scales were used to measure acculturation, leaving home

transition, and adjustment to college, respectively.

The first research question explored the leaving home transition to see if it predicted

college adjustment for Hispanic students. The results did indicate that conflictual

independence and emotional independence for the mother and the father had significant

effects toward college adjustment. The second research question addressed the issue of

acculturation as a predictor of college adjustment. As a main effect, acculturation








variables were found to have less predictability of college adjustment than did leaving

home transition variables. It was only when acculturation variables interacted with the

leaving home transition variables that the predictability of college adjustment was

enhanced. This finding indicated that acculturation variables, by themselves, are not

enough to predict college adjustment. The third research question explored the interaction

between acculturation and the leaving home transition. It was found that the interactions

between biculturalism and conflictural independence from the mother, cultural

involvement and emotional independence from the mother, and cultural involvement and

conflictual independence from the mother predicted college adjustment. The final

research question looked at acculturation and the leaving home transition to see if they

interacted with gender to predict college adjustment. The statistical results showed no

significant interaction effect in predicting adjustment to college. Gender, as a single main

effect, was found to predict college adjustment. Males were found to experience more

academic and family problems than females in this study.

It was concluded that the leaving home transition had a higher incidence in

predicting adjustment to college for Hispanic students than did acculturation or gender.

This study highlighted the effects leaving home transition had on college adjustment for

Hispanic students.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The United States has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants from diverse

cultural, ethnic, and social origins. Many who sought entrance to the United States came

in search of a better life. Others came to escape oppression in their country of origin. A

large segment of immigrants, however, were brought against their will and forced to

conform to the established culture (Baruth & Manning, 1991). The result has been the

emergence of diverse groups of people with identifiable values, traditions, and customs.

One culturally diverse group that is rapidly growing in numbers in the United States

is the Hispanic population. The U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990) classifies Hispanic-

Americans into the following subgroups: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Central and South

Americans, Cubans, and other Hispanics. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there are

approximately 22 million Hispanics in the United States, or roughly 8.6 % of the total

U.S. population. It is expected that by the year 2000 Hispanics will be the nation's largest

"minority" group, and that by the year 2020 there will be over 47 million Hispanics in the

United States, representing 15 % of the total population (Davis, Haub, & Willette, 1983).

Hispanics can be Caucasian, Mongoloid, Negroid, or various combinations of race

(Casas & Vasquez, 1989). Approximately 62.6% of the Hispanic population in the United

States are Mexican, 13.8% Central and South American, 11.1% Puerto Rican, 4.9%

Cuban, and 7.6% other ( U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991). Although there are Hispanics

living in all 50 states, the majority of the Hispanic population is concentrated in the states








of California, Texas, New York, and Florida. This increasing population is impacting the

mainstream American culture in the areas of language, housing, employment, education,

business, health, and the arts.

Hispanic subgroups vary greatly in personal characteristics, educational level

attained, cultural values and traditions, family dynamics and compositions, and socio-

economic situations. The median age of the Hispanic origin population in 1991 was 24.3

years. This figure is 8 years younger than the 1991 non-Hispanic median age of 33.8

years; however, differences can be found within individual Hispanic groups. For

example, the median age for Mexicans is 24.3; for Central and South Americans it is 27.9;

for Puerto Ricans 26.7; for Cubans 39.3; and for other Hispanics the median age is 31.0.

As can be seen, the heavily represented Mexican group (62.6% of the Hispanic

population) is the youngest in median age and Cubans (making up 4.9% of the Hispanic

population) represent the oldest. Education reports from the 1991 Current Population

Survey ( U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991) showed a 12.5% increase from 1983 for

Hispanics 25 years and over who attended 4 years of high school or more. Those having 4

years of college or more increased by 21.2% during the same period. These data indicate

that compared to the growth in the overall Hispanic population, the percentage of

Hispanics with a high school or college education has increased at a slow rate during a

recent decade. These data also show that the prospect of Hispanic enrollment and

completion of secondary and postsecondary education is low.

Most of the published research on Hispanics has focused on Mexican Americans

(Knight & Kagan, 1977; Olmendo, Martinez, & Martinez, 1978; Olmendo & Padilla,

1978; Rueschenberg & Buriel, 1989). Less research is available on the other three








subgroups (i.e., Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Central and South Americans). It

is clear that with the ever-increasing population size and changing demographics,

Hispanics will have a major impact on society and the future of the United States. It is

important that this segment of society be educated to prepare themselves for a better,

more productive way of life in this country.

Theoretical Framework

When a child leaves for college for the first time, the excitement and worry are often

shared by parents as well. Not knowing what can be expected or how their child will react

to a new environment often leads to added stress in what, for some, is an anxiety

producing event. Philip (1988) attempted to identify key issues between parents and their

children during the transition between home and college. Entering college traditionally

marks the end of childhood-adolescence and the beginning of adulthood. Philip referred

to the transition for the first year college student as

first, leaving the family for membership in the college community, this is
often times the first prolonged separation for most students; secondly, it
requires the student to acquire new responsibilities for decision-making
and caring for their own physical needs if they are living away from home;
and finally, it is a time for mourning the losses involved in leaving home,
such as parents, friends, and various forms of support networks. (Philip,
1988, p. 21)

He further summarized the central issue in this transition to be that of "change." Philip

stressed that both parent and student are going through changes that have to do with

where each individual is in his/her life cycle. Parents often face what has come to be

called the mid-life crisis, a time when reevaluation of one's life takes precedence and a

time that may require them to be reinvolved as a childless couple.








When combining the parents' mid-life crisis with the changes experienced by the

student when leaving home, it is not surprising that they often conflict. Students have to

learn to separate from parental control which, unlike cultures where familial involvement

is the norm (i.e., Hispanic and Asian), is an achievement of importance in contemporary

American society. Individuation accompanies separation in the form of becoming a

person in one's own right. For families in which the parents themselves have experienced

leaving home for college, these changes appear to be part of the normal developmental

changes which can either have positive or negative outcomes depending on how they are

handled (Philip, 1988).

On the negative side, what happens in the families when leaving for college is a

first time event? How prepared is the student to handle the stressors of leaving home and

those of adjusting to college life? Maladaptive reactions to these questions stem from not

dealing adequately with the changes brought about from developmental life transitions.

College students may exhibit (a) self-defeating behavior, (b) problems with parents and

family, (c) problems with academic work and performance, (d) loneliness and depression,

(e) anxiety about personal identity in general and sexual identity and preference, and (f)

problems in interpersonal and social relationships (Philip, 1988). The extent to which

these maladaptive reactions are exhibited among minority college students or whether

these reactions identify the manner in which minorities react to developmental stressors

is unknown.

Traditionally, leaving home has been discussed in terms of two characteristics.

First, the level ofindividuation, which is viewed as an internal, subjective process. This

process refers to the degree of psychological distance an individual experiences from the








parental family (Karpel, 1976; Sabatelli & Mazor, 1985). The second characteristic

refers to the degree of emotional attachment experience. A secure positive attachment to

parents is associated with an easier transition away from home, while an anxious or

conflicted attachment is associated with problems such as running away, pregnancy, or

drug abuse (Kraemer, 1982).

Recent investigators (e.g., Anderson & Fleming, 1986) have implied the need to

broaden the conceptualization of leaving home beyond individuation and emotional

attachment to include the following eight clusters: personal control, economic

independence, residence, physical separation, school affiliation, dissociation, emotional

separation, and graduation. Personal control involves a sense of freedom from parental

control, the ability to make one's own decisions and to do things for oneself Economic

independence denotes supporting oneself financially Residence involves living apart

from parents in a separate place. Physical separation is described by the distance away

from home and whether the family is present. School affiliation is measured by the

extent the individual considers school a home and dorm life as the center of life.

Emotional attachment-dissociation refers to the extent to which an adolescent continues

to feel an emotional bond toward parents versus a sense of emotional cutoff or

detachment. The final cluster, graduation, is marked by the completion of secondary

education.

Moore and Hotch (1983) studied the perceptions of late adolescents on the most

important factors associated with leaving their homes. From the eight clusters stated, the

most highly regarded outcome of separation reported by the 186 adolescents (i.e., 92

females and 94 males) was economic independence, while emotional separation and








dissociation were viewed least favorably. Further, the authors suggested that at a general

level adolescents viewed leaving home in terms of specific behaviors that they had

accomplished or would be accomplishing. At a personal level, indicators associated with

personal control (namely, making own decisions, less parental control, doing things for

self, and feeling more mature) were most important to adolescents. Thus, the degree of

personal control experienced played a major role in successfully leaving home.

In a study of 132 students enrolled in a large undergraduate course in

interpersonal relationships at a northeastern university, Anderson and Fleming (1986)

reported that while individuation and emotional attachment to parents were significant

predictors of both ego identity and college adjustment, economic independence and

having one's own residence separate from parents also were significant predictors. Both

the studies by Moore and Hotch (1983) and Anderson and Fleming (1986) suggested that

while it is important for the adolescents to retain a positive, supportive relationship with

their parents, their own identity and psycho-social adjustment needs are superseded by

feelings of physical separateness and personal control over their own lives. Others have

reported similar results (Henton, Lamke, Murphy, & Haynes, 1980; Sullivan & Sullivan,

1980).

An important concept related specifically to adolescent development and the

leaving home transition among immigrant groups is acculturation. Traditional views of

acculturation identify it as a linear and unidimensional process involving an

accommodation on the part of the migrant culture to a host culture (Berry & Annis, 1974;

Carballo, 1970; Szapocznik, Scopetta, Kurtines, & Aranalde, 1978). According to the

unidimensional model of acculturation, individual acculturation is a linear function of the








amount of time a person has been exposed to the host culture, and the rate at which the

process takes place is a function of the age and sex of the individual (Szapocznik et al.,

1978).

More recent conceptualizations have focused on a broader view of acculturation,

one that suggests it to be a complex process of accommodation to a total cultural context.

In this view, acculturation may be either unidimensional or two-dimensional, depending

upon the type of cultural context involved. This broader view also suggests that the

relationship between the acculturation process and the degree of plurality of the cultural

context has important implications for the psycho-social adjustments of individuals and

families of the migrant culture (Lasaga, Szapoczik, & Kurtines, 1980). This

conceptualization of the acculturation process suggests that the original unidimensional

model may not be applicable in those situations in which immigrants reside in bicultural

communities. In these instances, the individual migrant needs to participate in both

cultural communities, the host culture and the culture of origin (Lasage et al., 1980). The

bicultural model views acculturation as a unidimensional, two- dimensional, or

multidimensional process, depending on the cultural context involved (Szapocznik &

Kurtines, 1980). Szapocznik and Kurtines (1980) suggested that if the total cultural

context is predominately monocultural, acculturation will tend to be unidimensional and

approximate the linear process (i.e., a process of accommodating to the host culture and

giving up the culture of origin). When the total cultural context is bicultural,

acculturation becomes two dimensional and resembles a bicultural process (i.e., a process

of accommodating to the host culture and retaining some characteristics of the culture of

origin). This acculturation-bicultural model suggests that the most important variable








influencing the individual's accommodation to the host culture is the amount of time a

person has been exposed to the host culture, while the important variables influencing the

individual's retention of the characteristics of the culture of origin are the degree and

availability of community support for the culture of origin. In both cases, the age and sex

of the individuals are related to the change along these dimensions. Specifically, the

younger a person is at the time of his/her initial exposure to the host culture, the more

rapidly acculturation takes place. In reference to gender, the rate of acculturation has

been found to differ for males and females. Males acculturate more quickly than females

(Szapocznik et al., 1978). With the growing number of migrants from Latin America,

the notion ofbiculturalism becomes particularly relevant for Hispanics. Many of these

migrants will have more than one strong cultural reference group to influence their rate of

acculturation.

One arena in which Hispanics can acculturate into mainstream America is through

higher education institutions By attending college, Hispanics can gain skills and

knowledge that can prepare them to achieve a better standard of living within the host

culture. Unfortunately, Hispanic representation on college campuses is inadequate.

Higher education institutions have attempted to address the issues of minority

recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff These efforts have begun to

focus on increasing the number of minorities in higher education, but the gains have been

slow. In fact, the gaps between white and minority student enrollment and attrition levels

in institutions of higher education are widening (American Council on Education, 1989).

The American Council on Education (1989) concluded that the lack of quality education

at the primary and secondary levels for Black and Hispanic students, who tend to be in








the lower socioeconomic level, has resulted in little educational preparation for college.

In other words, Blacks and Hispanics may be academically disadvantaged before

reaching college, which, for some, may indicate academic failure in college and lead to

drop out.

Even for minority students who succeed in elementary and secondary schools, the

transition to college can be especially difficult. Higher education has not done an

adequate job of assisting minority students in adjusting to college (American Council on

Education, 1989). College students, in general, often face difficult transitional problems

adjusting to college life. The college student may be moving away from home for the

first time, creating new decisions and challenges never previously met (Robbins, Lese, &

Herrick, 1993). In coping with this transition, some students progress with relative ease,

while others experience adjustment problems with academic difficulty and career

indecision (Beard, Elmore, & Lange, 1982). For others, difficulties with family and

interpersonal issues in residence halls or other social context may lead to psychosocial

and physical symptoms related to these experiences (Archer & Lamnin, 1986; Lustman,

Sowa, & O'Hara, 1984). The "freshman or matriculant myth" is a plausible explanation

for the hardships some college students undergo in adjusting to college. The myth refers

to the discrepancy between the expectations a college student has towards college and the

actual experience of being in college (Berdie, 1968; Buckley, 1971; Herr, 1971; Watkins,

1978; Whiteley, 1982). The matriculantt myth" is experienced by males and females

(King & Walsh, 1972), and it seems to occur in both academic and nonacademic aspects

of college life, although Donato (1973) found a greater effect for the former.








Difficulties in adjusting to college cannot be fully explained by the matriculantt

myth," but it does serve to highlight the fact that the expectations towards and the reality

of the college experience itself, is a phenomenon most college students will have to cope

with. When such an experience is confounded by problems of acculturation and its

effects on the leaving home transition, the results may well be an increased risk for

maladjustment and academic failure. A further understanding of the role acculturation

and leaving home play in Hispanic students' expectations towards college and their actual

experience in college, may increase understanding of the factors influencing low

enrollment and completion of college for Hispanic students.

Statement of the Problem

According to the 1990 National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) report on

Hispanic education, Hispanic students tend to enter and graduate from college at lower

rates than Whites or Blacks. Also, Hispanics tend to enroll at 2-year colleges and schools

not having advanced degrees. For example, Hispanics made up 15% of the student

population at 2-year institutions compared to 4% of the enrollment at 4-year colleges

(NCLR, 1990). The increasing cost of financing education and the fact that Hispanic

families tend to be in the lower socioeconomic brackets contributes to the low percentage

of college enrollment.

Enrollment is further affected by geographic location and gender. A study

conducted in the Fall of 1988 (NCLR) showed that full- and part-time undergraduate

Hispanic students' matriculation is highly concentrated in the South and Southwest

regions, particularly in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, and

Texas. This is not surprising since the Hispanic population is concentrated in these areas.








In addition, Hispanic females are more likely than their male counterparts to enroll in

college right after high school. Due to economic necessity, Hispanic males enter the

work force and tend to delay entry by 2 to 3 years. A shift is experienced by age 20 -21,

when college enrollment is unlikely for the Hispanic female.

In a 1990 National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) report, Hispanics were

found to be less likely than Whites or Blacks to complete high school; if they did finish

high school, they were less likely to enroll in college. A majority of those that enrolled

in college did not graduate. Clearly, there is a need for more information on how to

attract, maintain, and graduate Hispanic students from both secondary and postsecondary

institutions. The rapid growth in the Hispanic population makes it imperative that ways

be found to educate and train Hispanic students to live in a technological society.

Traditionally, the family, both immediate and extended, has played an important

role in the development of Hispanic youth (Fitzpatrick, 1987). Through the family, the

individual learns the values, customs, and traditions that characterize Hispanic culture.

In general, Hispanic families place emphasis on cooperativeness and placing the needs of

the family ahead of individual concerns (Baruth & Manning, 1991). Hispanic families

are cohesive, with each member contributing to the common welfare of the family. For

some Hispanics, leaving home means entering the workforce and establishing an

independent residence. For others, the start of college begins the transitional process.

Researchers have shown (Olivas, 1986) that leaving home can precipitate a crisis for

many, and for others it may be a welcomed change.

Little is known about the effects of acculturation on the transition from home to

the workforce and independent residence or college adjustment for Hispanic youth. The








focus of most research on Hispanic acculturation has been in the areas of adjustment of

the Hispanic individual to the host culture, biculturalism, socioeconomic impact, and

family dynamics. What is known about the leaving home transition is based primarily on

research with non-Hispanic groups (Kenny, 1987; Lapsley, Rice, & Shadid, 1989;

Schwartz & Ward 1986; Valdes & McPherson, 1987; Wechter, 1983). Because Hispanic

families are affected by the acculturation phenomenon, it may well be that the Hispanic

youth experience of leaving home is influenced by acculturation levels. If that were the

case, it is possible that acculturation interacts in unknown ways with the leaving home

transition to predict Hispanic student adjustment to college. Such adjustment, or lack

thereof, may be an important factor in the low participation of Hispanics in college.

Need for the Study

There is little research on the effects of acculturation on the leaving home

transition and family dynamics of Hispanic youth, and it is not known whether this

affects college enrollment, adjustment, and completion among Hispanics. Hispanic

families are thought to have close relationships with and be overprotective of their

children (Baruth & Manning, 1991). It is unknown how this dynamic affects enrollment

and/or completion of college for the Hispanic individual. It is possible that the leaving-

home transition for Hispanics affects their ability to compete academically, their

participation in campus activities, and their interpersonal development when they attend

college. This influence may contribute to the high dropout rates among Hispanics. If the

effects of the leaving-home transition on Hispanic students and the role of acculturation

in this transition were known, then interventions could be developed to help Hispanic

students adjust to college and increase their success rates.








Rationale for the Study

It is estimated that only 22% of the current jobs require a college degree.

Workforce 2000 estimates that almost one-third of the new jobs created between 1984

and 2000 will require college graduation and more than half will require some

postsecondary education. Hispanics will account for more than one-fifth of all new

workers between this same period, with an even greater increase in the early decades of

the 21st century (Johnston, 1987). With an increase in demand for a highly educated and

trained workforce, it is imperative that Hispanics be competitive by acquiring a college

degree. The report by the National Council of La Raza (1990) shows that Hispanics

receive less than 3 of every 100 bachelor's degrees awarded each year by U.S. colleges

and universities. The percentage for graduate degrees is even lower. In 1986, Hispanics

earned 2.4 % of all master's degrees and only 1.9% of doctoral degrees awarded in 1987.

This compares to 4 8% and 2 3% and 79.1% and 61.2% for Blacks and Whites,

respectively (American Council on Education, 1989). In general, Hispanic students tend

to have lower college admission scores, college participation and graduation rates, and

lower representation among recipients of degrees compared to Blacks and Whites

(NCLR, 1990).

Further research in the area of college adjustment and enrollment is needed to

gain knowledge of what variables influence low representation of Hispanics in higher

education. This study investigated the variables of acculturation and leaving home as

they related to college adjustment for Hispanic students.








Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acculturation and the

leaving-home transition on college adjustment for first-time Hispanic college students.

Demographic variables such as age, gender, marital status, language use, place of

residence, and nationality were used to describe the sample and to screen for participation

in this study.

The Research Ouestions

1. Does the leaving-home transition predict adjustment to college among

traditional college-age Hispanic students when controlling for acculturation and gender?

2. Does the level of acculturation predict adjustment to college among traditional

college-age Hispanic students when controlling for leaving home transition and gender?

3. Do the level of acculturation and the leaving-home transition interact to predict

college adjustment for Hispanic students?

4. Do the level of acculturation and the leaving home transition interact with

gender to predict college adjustment for Hispanic students?

Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, the following definitions will be used:

Acculturation is the process of change affecting minority ethnic groups whose

culture is expected to become more and more like the Anglo majority's culture. Thus, it

is assumed that traits of Hispanic culture disappear and are replaced by traits of Anglo

culture (Keefe, 1980).

Biculturalism is a process of accommodating to the host culture and retaining

some characteristics of the culture of origin (Szapocznik & Kurtines, 1980).








Family is a self-contained unit consisting of a married heterosexual couple with a

child (or children) who live within the same domicile (Carter & McGoldrick, 1980).

Hispanic refers to the following Spanish-speaking groups: Mexicans, Puerto

Ricans, Cubans, Central, and South Americans (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991).

Leaving-home transition is the level ofindividuation which is viewed as an

internal, subjective process referring to the degree of psychological distance an

individual experiences from the parental family (Karpel, 1976; Sabatelli & Mazor, 1985)

and the degree of emotional attachment, which views a secure positive attachment to

parents as being associated with an easier leaving (Kraemer, 1982). For the purpose of

this study, the leaving home transition is measured by the Psychological Separation

Inventory (PSI)

Traditional college age is defined as students attending college between the ages

of 18-24

White (not-of-Hispanic origin) is a Caucasian person whose origin is not

composed of the following Spanish groups: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Central

and South Americans.

Organization of the Study

The remainder of this study was organized into the following four chapters.

Chapter 2 contained a review of the literature on acculturation, the leaving-home

transition, and college adjustment as it related to the Hispanic college-age student.

Chapter 3 provided the research questions, a description of the population and sample,

instruments used, data collection procedures, and analyses of the data. The results and

discussion of the results of this study were presented in Chapter 4. The discussion of the






16

results, the limitations of the study, implications of the findings and recommendation for

future research, and conclusions were discussed in Chapter 5.













CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

The purpose of this chapter was to review the literature that related to adjustment

to college, leaving home, and acculturation as it pertains to traditional college-age

Hispanic students.

Adjustment To College

The college environment is an important component allowing the college student

freedom to grow both academically and personally In their study, Beard, Elmore, and

Lange (1982) measured campus environment stress factors of a medium-sized university.

The results indicated that academic concerns, interpersonal relationships, and sexuality

were areas of potential stress for students. Other researchers (Gill, 1976; Lamb & Rapin,

1977) have shown that environmental modification can diminish sources of stress for

students It is important for administrators, student affairs personnel, and campus mental

health providers to understand the stressors that often plague students and increase the

likelihood that adjustment to the needs and demands of college life will be a difficult, or

even detrimental, to the students' welfare (Beard, Elmore, & Lange, 1982).

Researchers have long recognized the association between students' relationship

with their parents and their level of adjustment in college (Hoffman & Weiss, 1987;

Kenny & Donaldson, 1991; Lapsley, Rice, & Shadid, 1989; Lopez, Campbell, &

Watkins, 1988; Rice, Cole, & Lapsley, 1990). Successfully dealing with the separation-

individuation issues is seen by some as an acute developmental task for this period








(Hauser & Green, 1991; Levine, Green, & Millon, 1986; Rice et al., 1990). Separation-

individuation and issues of attachment can be especially relevant during the first year of

college, a period when many freshmen live away from home for the first time (Berman &

Sperling, 1991; Sullivan & Sullivan, 1980). If college students and parents are

emotionally ready for the event, then the initial home-leaving experience may expedite

successful mastery of separation issues and be associated with close familial relationships

and high levels of adjustment during the freshman year (Rice et al., 1990).

Levine et al. (1986) provided a helpful discussion of the separation-individuation

issues pertinent during late adolescence. Their review and empirical findings suggested

that the task of separation-individuation can be dealt with in the following three ways:

with separation anxiety, dependency denial, or healthier resolutions. The nature of these

resolutions have adaptational significance for students and parents.

In his study, Moore (1987) created a measure of cognitive constructions of the

home leaving experience. A significant conclusion found by Moore was that the way in

which "late adolescents construe the meaning and character of separation will influence

the way in which the experience of separation will be assimilated into their self-

conception and their relationships with their parents" (Moore, 1987, p. 301). In contrast

to Moore's cognitive view of leaving home, Holmbeck and Hill (1991) felt that an

individual's ability to adapt to life changes that occur during home leaving is anticipated

to affect how well the student adjusts to the stressors of college.

In their study, Holmbeck and Wandrie (1993) held the belief that counseling

psychologists in university settings would benefit from knowing the predictive utility of

various indicators of individual and relational functioning for college students' level of








adjustment. Having such knowledge would enable the psychologist to intervene in those

areas that are most likely to be associated with students' adjustment difficulties. The

study assessed the differential predictive utility of home-leaving status, family

functioning, separation-individuation issues, cognitive constructions of the home-leaving

process, and personality variables for adjustment during the freshman year of college.

Only freshmen were studied so that subjects could be observed at a period when

separation and home-leaving issues were more pronounced. The findings indicated that

separation-individuation issues, family relations, and the personality variables tended to

be more highly predictive of adjustment than were the cognitive or home-leaving status

variables. The findings for the separation-individuation issues suggested that the

capacity to maintain and regulate a healthy balance between object closeness and object

distance in relationships with significant others is critical to the mental health of first year

college students (Hoffman & Weiss, 1987; Lapsley et al., 1989; Levine et al., 1986;

Lopez et al., 1988; Rice et al., 1990). The results for the family variables revealed that

the quality of family attachments plays a role in determining the level of adjustment in a

college population (e.g., Kenny & Donaldson, 1991). Finally, the findings for the

personality indicators suggest that the degree to which students perceive themselves as

adaptable to change and in control of their environment also has implications for

adjustment (Holmbeck & Wandrei, 1993).

College adjustment has been perceived as being a multidimensional phenomenon.

In a series ofunivariate studies, personality variables were often related to college

adjustment (Nachtwey, 1978; Ogden & Trice, 1986), and personal control (Anderson &








Fleming, 1986) and self-esteem (Coopersmith, 1967; Rosenberg, 1965) were significant

predictors of college adjustment.

A second area of reviewed research involved adolescents' reports of homesickness

following their transition to college. Gasselsberger (1982) found that topographical and

sociographical changes associated with leaving home played a significant role in the

reporting of homesickness. In another similar study, Fisher, Murray, and Frazer (1985)

noted that distance from home was significantly greater for those students who labeled

themselves as being homesick and finding college adjustment more difficult than their

peers. These studies, collectively, support a social learning theory view of geographical

distance and its impact upon college adjustment. The premise is that as one's

environment changes (be it actual or perceptual), new sources of external reinforcement

must be found, precipitating a need to redefine environment contingencies (Katkovsky,

1968).

Mooney, Sherman, and LoPresto (1991) investigated how academic locus of

control, levels of self-esteem, and perceived distance from home related to four

dimensions of college adjustment: personal, academic, social, and attachment. In their

research of 88 female college freshmen from a small, Catholic, liberal arts college

(predominately White, middle- to upper-class), results supported the notion that both

academic locus of control and self-esteem were positively correlated with total college

adjustment. Female students possessing an internal academic locus of control and a high

level of self-esteem reported a more effective adjustment to college than female students

possessing either an external locus of control or low self-esteem. Furthermore, there was

a significant relationship between perceived distance from home and college adjustment.








Female students who perceived the distance from home as "just right" reported a more

successful college adjustment than those who perceived the distance as "too far."

Hispanics and College Adjustment

Attaining a college education is of great importance for the Hispanic population

of the United States. For the majority of the U.S. Hispanic segment a college degree is

crucial for obtaining a secure, well-paying job, but a large portion of this growing

population is undereducated. Hispanic youth are thus denied equal opportunities for

upward economic mobility and improved quality of life and are excluded from full

participation in the social, economic, and political life of the nation (Quintana, Vogel, &

Ybarra, 1991).

In 1990, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that in

1988, Hispanic students enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions numbered

approximately 680,000. This figure represented 5.2% of all college students in the

United States. Although this was an increase from 3.5% of all college students in 1976,

Hispanics still are not represented in higher education in numbers proportional to their

share of the total population (NCES, 1990). Furthermore, Hispanic students are

disproportionately concentrated in 2-year institutions such as community and junior

colleges. In comparison to 36% of Anglo students, 56% of Hispanic students are

attending community colleges (NCES, 1990). With regard to representation in graduate

and professional programs, the numbers are inadequate. This underrepresentation of

Hispanic students in graduate and professional programs prevents them from achieving or

participating in university and other professional settings, thus perpetuating their struggle

for social, economic, and political status in the larger U.S. society.








A number of studies have been conducted investigating Hispanic students'

adaptation in higher education. Previous reviews in this area have been concerned with

Hispanics' access to higher education, their preparation for these settings, and the

institutional barriers to their educational pursuits (Haro, 1983; Lopez, Madrid-Barela, &

Macias, 1976; Vasquez, 1982). Although it is widely believed that Hispanics experience

high levels of acculturative stress in academic settings dominated by Anglos, there has

not been a thorough examination of this assumption (Quintana et al., 1991).

A recent review of literature published during the past 2 decades exploring

Hispanic students' adjustment to postsecondary education revealed significant

associations to academic, gender, and cultural affiliation issues. Analyses indicated that

Hispanic college students experienced greater amounts of academic stress than do

Anglos. Academic concerns included student's perceptions of stress that resulted from

approaching teachers, taking tests, writing papers, producing the quality of scholarship

required by professors, and failing to meet academic expectations (Burbach &

Thompson, 1971; Farr, 1980; Lovato, 1981; Pliner & Brown, 1985; Vasquez, 1978; Vela,

1977). Financial stress was also found to be higher for Hispanic versus Anglo college

students. Financial issues included concerns about the uncertainty of financial aid,

obligations to repay student loans, and parents' contributions to financial support

(Webster, Sedlacek, & Miyares, 1979).

The level of stress experienced by Hispanic students has been compared to other

ethnic and racial groups, primarily to Black students. The findings indicated that Black

college students had significantly higher levels of social isolation stress (Madrazo-

Peterson & Rodriquez, 1978; Oliver, Rodriquez, & Mickelson, 1985). With regard to








gender issues related to stress, Hispanic females experienced greater overall levels of

stress compared to their male counterparts (Camarillo, 1985; Gonzalez, 1978; Munoz,

1986).

Another group of studies focused on cultural affiliation. These studies looked at

measures involving acculturation, biculturalism, and ethnic identity attitudes. Analysis

of these studies revealed that those Hispanic college students who had less comfort with

Anglo culture had higher stress (Camarillo, 1985; Femandez-Barillas & Morrison, 1984;

Saldana, 1988). In summation, Hispanic college students score higher on academic and

financial stress variables and rate the value of education higher than do Anglo students.

Black college students scored significantly higher than Hispanic students on social

isolation, and Hispanic women tended to report higher stress levels than Hispanic men

(Quintana et al., 1991).

Finally, cultural affiliation scores suggested that Hispanic college students who

were comfortable with Anglo culture had low stress scores. This is consistent with the

research of Berry (1980) which indicated that acculturative stress occurs more frequently

when there is greater cultural distance. Hispanic students who are familiar and

comfortable in Anglo culture experience less stress in universities that are dominated by

Anglos. It is not implied in any way that Hispanic college students should reject their

culture to adjust. On the contrary, individuals who are forced to reject their cultural

heritage are subject to acculturative stress (Berry, 1980).

Leaving Home

The phenomenon of leaving home has many meanings. It is unquestionably an

important first step in executing a key developmental task. Leaving home is symbolic of






24

personal struggle toward adulthood. Alapack and Alapack (1984) have, at the theoretical

level, viewed leaving home not only as a chronological event but also as a developmental

achievement which sets the tone for the quality of our life journey, but the psychological

literature pays scant attention to it. Because of Jung's concern with the process of

individuation, he writes about the necessity to break from the "magic circle of the mother

and family" in order to establish one's own sphere of influence and to breathe life into

things on one's own (Jung, 1974, p.168). Furthermore, he admonishes us that facing the

demands of responsible adulthood requires that we banish illusions of childhood and

resist the secure solace of collective fusion (Alapack & Alapack, 1984).

For those who do experience the departure from home, it is a time to face the

world unmediated by the protective filter of the family. There are often intense

emotional reactions during this time, ranging from anticipation to trepidation, from

enthusiastic excitement to unprecedented anxiety. Certain theoretical interpreters

underscore the conflict surrounding leaving home. Fairburn (1972) believed that it is the

basic "phobic" dependence-independence conflict in the transition to "mature

dependency" that oscillates or fluctuates between "a progressive urge to surrender the

infantile attitude of identification" (i.e., efforts to "separate, escape from prison") and a

regressive urge to maintain that attachment (i.e., "a desperate effort to achieve reunion

and to return home to the family nest") (p.43).

Though each leaving home is as personal as one's signature, the tempo or pace of

leaving happens in typical ways. Alapack and Alapack (1984) have illustrated the

following themes:






25

1. In pace with family expectations: Leaving at the proper time according to the

family's traditional or preferred view (i.e., to marry; to enter university or college; after

graduation; to enter the military life);

2. Slow departure: Leaving home involves a gradual, subtle separation;

3. False start: An impulsive running away, premature in that the individual is not

psychologically ready to leave. The end results may involve returning home;

4. Premature cutting loose: When parental action so sharply cuts across the line

of some individuals' lives that home leaves them precipitously (i.e., when parents: make

a major geographical move; expel their child from their house; separate-divorce; die-are

killed; commit suicide). Before the individual can truly leave home or move on with

their lives, he/she must first deal with this crisis. The grief work involves dealing with

the expressions of denial, anger about desertion, and rage at betrayal. Sadly, individuals

whose parent commits suicide are severely affected because most are trying to gain the

approval or live up to the expectations of someone whose destructiveness they detest

(Alapack & Alapack, 1984).

Along with looking at the tempo of leaving home, there is a general experiential

tone or feeling involved in making the decision to leave. Natural feeling involves leaving

when the time seems right, suitable, or appropriate. relief is what is felt when leaving

after what seems a long delay. Escape is seen as an exit physically from what seems an

intolerable or abusive home situation, but not a true psychological or emotional break.

Sheehy (1974) portrays escape in the form of a "jailbreak marriage" (p. 97). A reluctant

departure is seen when an individual wants a physical leaving without wanting a

psychological separation. There is a potential for intimate relationships to be severely








taxed if the family of origin remains the dominant frame of reference to either or both

partners. Postponed separation entails leaving in intention, but putting off the actual

execution of the deed. The individual may not grasp that having anxiety about risk,

change, and freedom tends to keep him/her riveted to the familiar, secure home base

(Sheehy, 1981). An individual who has not attempted leaving is not experiencing the

need to uproot. Some individuals feel unquestionably that they must dwell near their

roots, close to the parental home. Departing is not part of their meaning-matrix. Ritual

sameness is preferred to change (Alapack & Alapack, 1984). Many people do not truly

leave home but set up substitutes for it, or repeat dependency, love-hate family dynamics

by establishing instant "homemade" families. This is known as pseudo-departure. Often

their goal is to compensate for a chronically disappointing family. Some find substitute

families in already constituted families of their friends, employers, and so forth. A

pseudo-departure is an act to avoid a crisis and to avoid the personal work necessary truly

to break psychologically from the family of origin. Haley (1980) described sabotaged

graduation as a time when an individual does not attempt to leave in order to keep the

family system stabilized.

The parents cannot function as a viable organization without the presence
of their child. They use some ploy, consciously or not, to restrain him/her:
threaten divorce, lapse into depression, engage in extra-marital affair,
suffer a heart attack, or attempt suicide. The young adult cooperates in the
drama by developing some incapacitating problem or actually fails, so that
he or she continues to need the parents. (Haley, 1980, p. 30-34)

The final theme of leaving is called despaired situation. The individual is in a situation in

which he/she is convinced of the need to leave but is equally convinced of the lack of

courage to take the critical risks. Often times, parents of children who fall under this






27

despaired situation are not supportive of their children's graduation into life. This further

intensifies the child's dilemma between leaving and staying.

The High School and Beyond (HSB) Survey

Frances and Calvin Goldscheider (1993) have written on the outcomings of the

High School and Beyond (HSB) survey which provided data on young people just

entering adulthood in the 1980s and their parents. It was designed and carried out by the

Center for Educational Statistics. The survey started in Spring 1980 with interviews in

high schools of 58,728 sophomores and seniors divided about equally between the two

classes. The sample group was selected to represent young people in the United States.

The students were contacted every 2 years (i.e., in the spring of 1982, 1984, and 1986),

providing the most recent information about transition to adulthood currently available.

A subsample of 7,201 parents was surveyed about themselves and the student in the

study. In addition, the survey collected a considerable amount of information about

ethnic and religious characteristics of the young adults. The following documentation

highlights the findings of the HSB survey as it relates to residential independence.

Residential Independence and Adulthood

In a national study, Goldscheider and Goldscheider (1993) reported on the

expectations and decisions of a large group of young adults and a subsample of their

parents. The young adults were graduating from high school in the early 1980s and were

beginning the process of moving out. The data were collected between 1980 and 1986.

Several patterns emerged once the data were analyzed.

Parents were found to play an important role in determining whether their

children would set up a residence outside of the home. The authors reported finding that








values pertaining to various dimensions of familism had far greater impact on whether

young adults expected and experienced nonfamily living in early adulthood than did

measures of financial resources. Direct and indirect measures of values, such as attitudes

about gender role traditionalism and parent-child relationships, or those indexed by

ethnicity and religiosity, strongly affect the paths these young people took to residential

independence.

When do young people become adults--autonomous, independent, and socially

recognized as grown-up? The old symbols of puberty, a steady job, the filled hope chest

were connected to the concept of marriage and family These symbols have given way to

a "new" definition of adulthood, leaving separation from parents as the only key indicator

of leaving childhood behind (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). Contemporary

marriage and parenthood have been redefined as optional elements of adult lives,

meaning that it is all right not to marry (Thornton, 1989). Living apart from parents as

early as possible, whether or not marriage follows later, may have become what indicates

to young people that they are adults and what might reassure parents that they have

succeeded in "raising" them. If so, the new signal that young people have become adults

may now be moving out of the parental household before marriage not only to attend

school or serve in the military but also to live independently (Goldscheider &

Goldscheider, 1993). As a result, adulthood can be losing its family connotations,

becoming focused on a much narrower economic consideration, that of having the ability

to support oneself This independence probably needs to be shown symbolically by

living away from parents, even if one needs frequently to return for financial reasons and








emotionally when changing jobs or completing college or the armed services, before

moving out again (DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1990).

Most studies of early adulthood have assumed that residential independence was

somehow tied to one or more life course transitions, such as marriage, school, or

economic independence and was, therefore, not a separate transition worthy of study in

its own right. However, a recent analysis revealed that this is not the case. Neither

leaving home nor attaining full residential independence (outside of dormitories and

barracks) was closely linked with other transitions in young adulthood since many attend

college while living at home, and others leave home despite not being in school or the

military, married, or being employed full time (Goldscheider & DaVanzo, 1985). Hence,

residential autonomy in early adulthood has not received detailed study because it is new,

particularly in the unraveling links to other dimensions of the life course (Goldscheider &

Goldscheider, 1993).

Added to the confusion over trends in young peoples' pattern of living

arrangements is considerable ambivalence about what their likely consequences might

be. There is clear evidence that living outside a family setting in young adulthood delays

marriage (Goldscheider & Waite, 1991) and alters young peoples' attitudes toward

several dimensions of traditional family roles. Young women who have lived

independently prior to marriage increase their expectations to be working during their

family-building years and decrease their approval of young women combining work and

parenthood (Waite, Goldscheider, & Witsberger, 1986). There is some data to support

the notion that living with the family is healthier, mentally and physically. Most of those

living outside a family setting may be able to construct a supportive network of social








ties, but some may not, risking loneliness, depression, and illness (Kisker & Goldman,

1987; Kobrin &Hendershot, 1977; Riessman & Gerstel, 1985). If living independently

before marriage becomes a needed current symbol of adulthood for young people, its cost

may be met by reduced investments in their own future. It may become more difficult for

young adults to save to complete more years of schooling or to acquire a financial

cushion for meeting the expenses of starting a family. These considerations suggest that

residential autonomy in a nonfamily context among young people is a fairly new

phenomenon that requires detailed study. Its impact is likely to have major consequences

for other transitions in early adulthood, such as family, work, and educational decisions

(Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993).

It is believed that nonfamily living in young adulthood, like nonfamily living

among the elderly, is an expense that requires more resources than familial coresidence

and is a challenge to familism. "Familism" is a general term that implies that family roles

and relationships are at the core of people's lives and thus the axes around which society

is organized (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). Young adulthood is by far a stable

time in people's lives. It is highlighted by many transitions, with probably more changes

than any other time in the life course. There are transitions in schooling, work type, and

intensity, as well as in social and family relationships (Rindfuss, 1991). It is a critical

period when young people work out their connections with their parental family. The

timing of marriage is central in planning for and experiencing residential autonomy for

some. Those who marry early have relatively little time after completing school to make

the investment in a separate home.








Parental Influence

Residential independence before marriage is a complex phenomenon that involves

negotiation between parents and their children. Leaving home before or at marriage

reflects values about the meaning of families and the family roles of young adults in the

late 20th century (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). There is a highly held notion,

both by parents and children, that young adults would achieve residential independence

within 6 years after high school. Residential autonomy is seen as the decision of the

household as a whole. Leaving home changes not only the residential family lives of

young adults but also those of their parents. The decision to leave the parental home

includes the complex of norms, preferences, and plans of young adults and of their

parents. Parents are likely to play a contributing role in the decision of who stays to live

in the household. Parents are more likely to be in control of resources involved in setting

up nonfamily residences. So the process of nest leaving involves decisions and values,

expectations and plans of two generations, each reflecting their own perspectives even as

they share some of the same values and attitudes (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993).

An important outcome from the HSB survey is that when parents have the same

expectations about the sequence of marriage and residential independence that their child

holds, their support greatly strengthens the bond between expectations and later behavior

(Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). However, when parents and their children

disagree about the role of marriage in residential independence, the timing of residential

independence is greatly altered. When parents expect residential independence prior to

marriage but their child does not, premature departure occurs for the child. In some of

these families young adults marry early, and others leave home before marriage








(Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). This combination suggests that parents who

expect their children to leave home before marriage really want independence from their

children and achieve it one way or another. They either facilitate early nest leaving even

if their children do not expect to or do little to prevent early marriages, if that is what

their children want. In contrast, when parents expect residential independence to wait

until marriage but their children are expecting to leave before marriage, intergenerational

coresidence occurs. The active role parents have in the nest-leaving process is further

enhanced when parents actually transfer part of their resources to children for education.

The child is more likely to leave home before marriage, either in conjunction with or

after schooling (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993).

Parents who remarry and introduce a stepparent into the household strongly

increase the likelihood that the child would leave home. Marriage for individuals

growing up in one-parent families occurs later than in intact families, but when a

remarriage occurs, the marriage of the younger generation is accelerated. These findings

once again confirm that living arrangement decisions are really household-level rather

than individual-level decisions. A strong indication predicting whether young adults will

leave home before marriage was the expectation they expressed about it, often times a

few years before the actual behavior took place (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993).

Ethnicity and Residential Independence

From the ethnical groups sampled in the HSB survey, the use of an ethnic

language, closeness to the foreign-born generation, and ethnic residential group

cohesiveness were found to reduce the likelihood that ethnic group members expect and

experience nonfamily living. It was also found that as these factors weaken (i.e., if the






33

individual is distant from their immigrant group and only spoke English), the more likely

nonfamily living was expected and experienced (Hernandez, 1989). These processes

have been found in both recent arrivals in the United States (i.e., Asians and Hispanics)

and some of the older ethnic groups such as whites from southern and eastern Europe

(Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993).

Hispanic-Americans

Hispanics are the least likely to expect and experience nonfamily living of all the

ethnic groups examined in the HSB survey. Hispanic parents are particularly unlikely to

expect nonfamily living for their children. Maintaining family closeness as a valued goal

also contributes importantly to their intergenerational coresidence. Rating family

closeness highly has an unusually strong impact in reducing the likelihood of expecting

and experiencing nonfamily living. Among Hispanics, Cubans stand out as the least

likely to experience and expect nonfamily living, but this pattern is consistent among all

Hispanic groups (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). An increase in English use and

moving away from ethnic region enhance the chance that young Hispanic adults will

leave home before marriage and experience nonfamily living.

Acculturation

When discussing ethnic minorities and immigrant groups, often times the debate

has centered around topics such as acculturation, assimilation, and adjustment.

Traditionally, acculturation has been described as a one dimensional process that usually

is restricted to an accommodation of the host culture on the part of a migrant group

(Szapocznik et al., 1978). Acculturation has been found to be associated with a person's

mental health status (Golding, Burnam, Timbers, Escobar, & Karo, 1985), levels of








social support available (Griffith & Villavicencio, 1985), deviancy (Berry & Annis,

1974), alcoholism and drug use (Padilla, Padilla, Ramirez, Morales, & Olmedo, 1979),

political and social attitudes (Alva, 1985), and suicide (Hatcher & Hatcher, 1975).

Many ethnic groups have not conformed to this pattern. They have learned,

adapted, and adjusted to the host culture while at the same time keeping characteristics of

their ethnic heritage intact. This process is known as biculturalism. A three-step process

that consist's, first, of the usual linear process of accommodating to the host culture;

second, the characteristics of the original ethnic culture are either retained or

relinquished; and last, there is an acceptance of both the ethnic and host culture's values

and characteristics (Szapocznik et al., 1978).

According to the Bicultural Involvement Model of Szapocznik and colleagues

(Szapocznik & Kurtines, 1980; Szapocznik, Kurtines, & Fernandez, 1980; Szapocznik,

Santisteban, Kurtines, Perez-Vidal, & Heruis, 1984), individuals in bicultural

environments tend to become biculturated. In biculturalism, the individual and the

family develop the flexibility to interact successfully with the surrounding host culture

and at the same time retain the skills and values needed to interact successfully within the

culture of origin. Within the families themselves the biculturation process is learned.

This occurs when adolescents tend to become Americanized while the parents tend to

adhere more closely to ethnic roots. From the conflict that results from these differences,

each generation is forced to learn to come to terms with the other generation's cultural

preference. Hence, parents learn how to remain loyal to their ethnic background while

learning to interact with their children's Americanized values and behaviors and vise

versa (Szapocznik et al., 1980).






35

The process ofbiculturalism is not without its negative side effects. The process

of adaptation and adjustment sometimes results in the disruption of the traditional, close

knit family. This could lead to various psychological disorders in family members,

including such behavioral problems as drug abuse among youths and depression in

parents (Szapocznik, Scopetta, Aranalde, & Kurtines, 1978). Since children become

more Americanized more quickly than their parents, intergenerational differences

develop that increase or precipitate family intergenerational conflicts (Szapocznik &

Tuss, 1978).

As a result, the patterns of interacting among families become disorganized. The

parents become alienated from their highly Americanized children. The children

experience alienation from their less acculturated parents. Whether in the family or in

society at large, individuals who reside in bicultural environments develop psychological

and psychosocial problems when they remain or become monocultural (Szapocznik et al.,

1978). Individuals who live in a bicultural context must learn to interact successfully

with both cultures. By contrast, those who "underacculturate" (fail to learn how to or do

not want to interact with the host culture) or overacculturate" (rejects the values and

traditions of their culture of origin) fail to cope with their entire cultural experience.

In summation, the practical way to avoid the detrimental effects of adaptation to a

new culture is for individuals living in bicultural communities to become biculturated.

The process of becoming bicultural involves learning communication and negotiation

skills in two different cultural contexts, each having their own set of rules (Szapocznik &

Kurtines, 1980; Szapocznik et al., 1980).








Impact of Acculturation on Hispanic Families

Familism is viewed as one of the most important culture-specific values of

Hispanics (Moore, 1970). It is described as strong identification and attachment

individuals have with their families (nuclear and extended) as well as feelings of loyalty,

reciprocity, and solidarity among members of the family (Triandis, Marin, Betancourt,

Lisansky, & Chang, 1982). Familism among Hispanics is so important that it has been

considered as a possible justification for the relatively "trouble free acculturation of

immigrants to the United States (Cohen, 1979; Rumbaut & Rumbaut, 1976; Szalay, Ruiz,

Strhol, Lopez, & Turbiville, 1978) and for the relatively better health profile of Hispanics

compared to other groups (Keefe, Padilla, & Carlos, 1979; Murillo, 1976).

The Hispanic family is usually seen as an emotional support system formed from

a cohesive group of lineal and collateral relatives in which members help out regularly

and rely on relatives more than on external resources for support (Cobb, 1976; Keefe et

al., 1979). Researchers have supported the notion that the family is the single most

important institution for Mexican Americans (Alvirez & Bean, 1976), Puerto Ricans

(Glazer & Moynihan, 1963), Cuban Americans (Szapocznik & Kurtines, 1980), and

Central and South Americans (Cohen, 1979). Hispanic families are perceived as

protecting their members against external physical and emotional stressors (Grebler,

Moore, & Guzman, 1970) and as a support system that enhances psychological growth

(Mannino & Shore, 1976; Miranda, 1980; Valle & Martinez, 1980).

With the exposure to acculturation, urbanization, migration, and increasing

contact with the mainstream American culture, Hispanic familism values are changing

(Garza & Gallegos, 1985). Edgerton and Karno (1971) found that acculturation was








associated with a decrease in reliance on the extended family system. Keefe (1980)

suggested that members of ethnic groups who migrate to a more industrialized culture

become less dependent on the family network and have more social mobility. By

contrast, Griffith and Villavicencio (1985) reported that the extended family system

becomes larger and better integrated from first-generation immigrants to the next. This is

due in part to the increased number of related households, frequency of visiting local kin,

and the number of ties in the social network (Keefe et al., 1978).

In studying the effects of acculturation on Hispanic familism, Marin (1986)

stated that it is important to distinguish between its attitudinal and behavioral

components. Attitudinal aspects of Hispanic familism refer to the beliefs and attitudes

Hispanics share regarding the extended and nuclear families, especially in terms of

loyalty, solidarity, and reciprocity. The behavioral components refer to behaviors

associated with these feelings. First-generation immigrant Hispanics were found to have

stronger attitudinal familism (due to familism being such a strong core value of the

culture) but weak behavioral familism (since immigrants have few relatives with whom

to visit or exchange favors in the new country and the distance from mother country may

impede access to other relatives) (Sabogal, Marin, & Othero-Sabogal, 1987). Second and

third generations could exhibit relatively lower attitudinal familism (due to acculturation

to the less familistic culture of the United States), while behavioral familism may

increase (due to migration of other relatives and marriages of the immigrant's children).

It has been found that factors such as accessibility to the mother country may have an

important influence on both attitudinal and behavioral familism among different Hispanic

groups (Sabogal et al., 1987). Geographic distance or political and economic barriers








may limit new migration or ongoing contact with family members in the mother country.

Thus, Hispanic familism could be viewed as the result of a highly complex interaction

between environmental influences and personal choices (Garza & Gallegos, 1985).

The following study served to highlight attitudinal familism within Hispanics.

Sabogal et al. (1987) studied three Hispanic subgroups (Mexican, Cuban, and Central

American). Their three main objectives were (a) to study the effect that acculturation is

having on Hispanics' attitudinal familism, (b) to identify the similarities or differences in

attitudinal familism that may exist between the three Hispanic subgroups, and (c) to

compare familism values between highly acculturated Hispanics and white non-

Hispanics. Respondents were 452 Hispanics and 227 non-Hispanic whites, who agreed

to be interviewed or to answer a questionnaire. Respondents were obtained from schools

and colleges, hospital-bas.cd and community clinics, places of employment, and during

meetings of voluntary associations. Subjects were presented with a 16- page

questionnaire that included items measuring attitudinal familism, behavioral

acculturation, and standard demographic questions. Three clear factors emerged. First,

familial obligation was defined as respondents' perceived obligation to provide materials

and emotional support to the members of the extended family, second, perceived support

from the family referred to the perception of family members as reliable providers of help

and support to solve problems; and third, family as referents dealt with relatives as

behavioral and attitudinal referents. The results indicated the sturdiness with which

Hispanics hold attitudinal familism values despite differences in acculturation and

sociodemographic variables. The high level of perceived family support is the most

distinctive dimension of Hispanic familism (Sabogal et al., 1987). Although changes do








occur as Hispanics acculturate to mainstream American culture, significant differences

remain between white non Hispanics and highly acculturated Hispanics. The data from

this study showed that despite differences in national background and accessibility of

family, Mexican-, Cuban-, and Central-Americans appear to hold similar cultural values

regarding familism.

Even though Hispanic familism was found to be composed of multiple

dimensions, the central factor (perceived support from the family) was found not to

change as Hispanics acculturate to the main stream American culture. The other factors,

familial obligations and family as referents, did change with the acculturation process.

The familism factors were strongly associated with the level of respondent's

acculturation. The higher the level of acculturation, the lower the Perception of Family

Obligations and Family as Referents factors.

The differences between the highly and less acculturated respondents in two of

the three familism dimensions demonstrate that acculturation does indeed produce

changes in certain core cultural values as suggested by Grebler et al., (1970) and Mindel

(1980). The results of the Sabogal et al. (1987) study support the notion that some

familism values decrease in importance as acculturation and exposure to the American

culture increases.

There are several possible reasons why perceived support from the family remains

strong despite acculturation. It is the only factor that was not affected by the place of

birth, generation, or place of growing up for Hispanics. Hispanic culture emphasizes

mutual help and interdependence particularly among the family and among members of

the in-group (Marin & Triandis, 1985). The knowledge that problems can be jointly








solved with the family members and that support can always be found among relatives

can be a much valued world view that individuals may want to hold even as they

acculturate (Sabogal et al., 1987). Hispanic culture values spending time with friends

and relatives, and Hispanics prefer close physical distances and more touching when

interacting with each other (Hall, 1966, 1983). Another possible explanation is the more

integrated Hispanic family network (Vernon & Roberts, 1985) that is more supportive

than the networks found among white non-Hispanics.

These data suggest that although acculturation produces a change in the strength

with which Hispanic familism values are held, these highly acculturated respondents still

do not resemble the mainstream whites' feeling regarding familism. These findings add

further support to Keefe's (1980) argument that Hispanic families do not resemble white

non-Hispanic families even though acculturation has taken place. There seems to be an

interaction between original and new cultural patterns rather than an unidirectional

process of total assimilation (Sabogal et al., 1987), hence giving sustenance to the notion

of biculturalism.

Sabogal et al. (1987) suggested that future research focus on the changes

acculturation can produce on behavioral familism (e.g., visitation patterns, help seeking,

frequency of face-to-face contact) and whether familism prevents acculturation.

Chapter Summary

The review of the literature related to this research provided supporting evidence

for a study of college adjustment among first-year Hispanic students. The acculturation

literature described the importance of keeping one's cultural values and traditions while

integrating those of the host culture in order to comprehend the behaviors and






41

expectations required of the individual by the host and/or majority culture. Leaving

home was seen as such a crucial period, often times representing the transition between

adolescence and adulthood. How successful the individual is in making this transition

will more than likely set the tone for future developmental passages, such as attending

college. College was regarded as an arena in which the young adult will fine tune their

academic and life skills before heading out into the work force. Hispanic students often

times fail to accomplish this task. Many Hispanic students are unable to adjust to the

college environment, resulting in poor academic grades and a sense of loneliness which

can cause them to drop out of school and return home. A reasonable next step was to

identify how the role of acculturation and the leaving home transition predicts college

adjustment among first year Hispanic students, thus increasing their chances to finishing

college and getting a degree.














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acculturation and the

leaving-home transition on college adjustment for the first-time Hispanic college student.

A survey that included three instruments was used to find if and how acculturation and

leaving home can predict college adjustment among traditional college-age Hispanic

students. The results of this survey assisted in identifying and increasing knowledge of

Hispanic students' retention and recruitment at 4-year universities. The findings can be

used by university administrators, college admission and recruiting personnel, and

university mental health providers.

The Research Ouestions

This study examined the following research questions:

1. Does the leaving home transition predict adjustment to college among

traditional college-age Hispanic students when controlling for acculturation and gender?

2. Does the level of acculturation predict adjustment to college among traditional

college-age Hispanic students when controlling for leaving home transition and gender?

3. Do the level of acculturation and leaving home transition interact to predict

college adjustment for Hispanic students?

4. Do the level of acculturation and the leaving home transition interact with

gender to predict college adjustment for Hispanic students?








Population. Sample. and Selection Procedures

The investigator identified first-semester Hispanic college students by using

university admission records. A major residential university in the State of Florida was

used to generate a population for this study. This university was selected because of its

distance from the Broward-Dade area and the capacity to house students (e.g., residence

halls).

The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, is a public, land-grant research

university, one of the most comprehensive in the United States, encompassing virtually

all academic and professional disciplines. It is the oldest and largest of Florida's nine

universities and a member of the Association of American Universities.

University of Florida (U.F.) students, numbering approximately 36,000 in the Fall

1993, come from more than 100 countries (1,600 foreign students), all 50 states, and

every one of the 67 counties in Florida. The ratio of men to women is 53:47 (University

of Florida, 1994).

Thirty-three percent were freshman and sophomores, and 43 % juniors and

seniors. The student body consisted of approximately 6,300, or 18 %, graduate students,

and 2,100, or 6 %, were in professional programs such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary

medicine, and law (University of Florida, 1994). Approximately 2,000 Black and 2,500

Hispanic students attended the University of Florida.

Sample

The population to be sampled consisted of approximately 273 first semester

traditional college-age Hispanic students. A return rate of at least 50% was expected,

bringing the sample size to a minimum of 137. A list of Hispanic student admissions was








acquired through the Registrar's office. Subjects for this study were first-time freshmen

Hispanic students between the ages of 18 and 24. They were sent a packet containing a

cover-request to participate letter, an instruction sheet, a demographic questionnaire,

three assessment instruments, and a return self-addressed envelope.

Instrumentation

In assessing biculturalism, separation-individuation status, and college adjustment

the following instruments were utilized:

Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire

The Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire (BIQ) is a 33-item, paper-and-pencil

test. Most items were designed to assess the degree to which a person feels comfortable

in each culture independent of the other. It measures two conceptually independent

bipolar dimensions: (a) a dimension of biculturalism which ranges from monculturalism

to biculturalism and (b) a dimension of cultural involvement which ranges from cultural

marginality to cultural involvement. Scores for each of these dimensions are computed

on the basis of two subscales, one measuring Americanism and the other measuring

Hispanicism. Americanism scores are obtained by summing all of the items reflecting

an involvement in American culture (items number 6-10, 18-24, and 25-33). Similarly,

Hispanicism scores are obtained by summing all of the items reflecting an involvement in

Hispanic culture. This is accomplished by summing the weights of items 1-5, 11-17 and

the reverse of the weights for items 25-33. For example, if a person scored a "2" on item

25, he/she would receive for that item a weight of "2" for the Americanism scale and a

'"4" for the Hispanicism scale.








Scores on the Biculturalism Scale are obtained by calculating the following

difference score:

Biculturalism score = Hispanicism score-Americanism score, with scores close to

zero (0) indicating biculturalism; scores deviating from zero indicates monoculturalism.

A positive difference score reveals monoculturalism in the Hispanic direction, whereas a

negative difference score reveals monoculturalism in an American direction.

Scores on the Cultural Involvement Scale are obtained by calculating the

following sum score:

Cultural Involvement score = Hispanicism score + Americanism score, with a

high score indicating greater degree of cultural involvement, and a low score indicating

cultural marginality, that is a lack of involvement in either culture.

Normative sample. The subject pool used in the development and validation of

this instrument is comprised of four samples (totaling N=192). They were drawn from

three junior high schools in the Dade County (Greater Miami) area.

Reliability and validity scores. The alpha internal consistency coefficients for

samples 1 and 2 combined were .93 and .89 for the Hispanicism and Americanism

Scales, respectively. The internal consistency reliabilities for the Biculturalism and

Cultural Involvement Scales were obtained using the formulas for calculating reliabilities

of difference and composite scores suggested by Gilford (1954, p.393-394). The

reliability of the difference scores for the Biculturalism Scale was .94 and of the

composite scores for the Cultural Involvement was .79

Criterion-related validational evidence for the Biculturalism Scale was obtained

by using biculturalism ratings as an external criterion.






46

The Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to

complete.

Psychological Separation Inventory

The Psychological Separation Inventory (PSI) was developed by Hoffman (1984).

The PSI consists of 138 items that subjects respond to a 5-point Likert-type scale on how

accurately the statement described them, ranging from not at all true of me (1) to very

true of me (5). The PSI is used to measure two central aspects of the psychological

separation of college students from their parents--emotional independence and conflictual

independence. The PSI provides a score for each of these dimensions for each parent.

Sixty-nine of the items are worded to yield information about psychological separation

from mother and 69 items refer to separation from father. Four scales (for both mother

and father dimensions) are derived from the items: Functional Independence (FI)--the

ability to manage and direct one's practical and personal affairs without the aid of the

mother or father; Attitudinal Independence (AI)--the image of oneself as being unique,

having one's own attitudes, beliefs, and so on; Conflictual Independence (CI)--freedom

from excessive guilt, anxiety, mistrust, and resentment; and Emotional Independence

(EI)--freedom from excessive need for approval, closeness, and emotional support.

Normative sample. The subjects were 75 male and 75 female undergraduate

college students, between the ages of 18 and 22 taking introductory psychology courses

at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The sample was comprised of 87%

White students and 13% Black students. With regard to year in college, 62% were

freshman, 24% sophomores, 12% juniors, and 2% were seniors.








Reliability and validity scores. Cronbach's coefficient alpha internal consistency

was reported to be .88 for mother and .89 for father emotional independence; for

conflictual independence, the figures were .92 and .88 for the mother and father,

respectively. Test-retest reliability (2-3 weeks) ranged from .74 to .96 (Hoffman, 1984)

Construct validity was reported for the PSI: greater conflictual independence was related

to college students' self-reports of fewer problems with love relationships, and greater

emotional independence was related to fewer academic problems.

Scoring the PSI. The scales are scored by adding the ratings for each scale and

then subtracting this number from the total number possible for each scale in order that

higher scores would reflect greater psychological separation. The Psychological

Separation Inventory takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to administer.

College Adiustment Scales

The College Adjustment Scales ( CAS) serves as a comprehensive screening

instrument to identify problems frequently experienced by college students throughout

their college years. The CAS assesses nine areas of college adjustment difficulties:

anxiety--a measure of clinical anxiety, focusing on common affective, cognitive, and

physiological symptoms; deression--a measure of clinical depression, focusing on

common affective, cognitive, and physiological symptoms; suicidal ideation--a measure

of the extent of recent ideation reflecting suicide, including thoughts of suicide,

hopelessness, and resignation; substance abuse--a measure of the extent of disruption in

interpersonal, social, academic, and vocational functioning as a result of substance use

and abuse; self-esteem problems--a measure of global self-esteem which taps negative

self-evaluations and dissatisfaction with personal achievement; interpersonal problems--a






48

measure of the extent of problems in relating to others in the campus environment; family

problems--a measure of difficulties experienced in relationships with family members;

academic problems--a measure of the extent of problems related to academic

performance; and career problems--a measure of the extent of problems related to career

choice. Students rate the 108 CAS items on a 4-point scale ranging from "false, not at all

true" to "very true," entering their responses on a separate answer sheet. The answer

sheet contains scoring keys and a profile area which takes only 3 to 5 minutes to

compute.

Normative sample. The CAS was standardized and validated for use with college

and university students. Normative data were collected from students 17 through 65

years old. However, because approximately 10% of the standardization sample was older

than age 30, caution should be used when administering the CAS to students who are

older than age 30. Results of readability analyses indicated that a fifth-grade reading

ability is required to complete the CAS. Available research and normative data indicate

that the CAS is unbiased with respect to gender and ethnic group membership. Of the

1,146 subjects in the standardization sample, approximately 38% were males and 61%

were females. Ethnic group composition was approximately 75% White, 9%/ Black, 6%

Hispanic, and 10% other ethnic groups. Approximately 25% of the sample were

freshman, 18% sophomores, 31% juniors, 22% were seniors, and 2% were graduate

students.

Reliability and validity scores. The 108-item CAS has an internal consistency

reliability coefficient range of .80 to .92, with a mean of .86 for each of the nine scales

which contain 12 items each. The validity of the CAS was examined in five studies.






49

These studies were carried out at several colleges and universities throughout the United

States (Anton & Reed, 1991). The first study explored group differences and suggested

that the CAS was a sensitive measure of adjustment problems in college students. The

convergent and discriminant validity of the CAS were examined in four validation

studies (Reed, 1991). In Study 2, CAS data was correlated with independent measures of

anxiety, depression, personality functioning, and grade point average. Study 3 correlated

with independent measures of personality functioning, and interpersonal problems. The

measures of self-esteem, personality functioning, alcohol and drug abuse, and family

problems were correlated within Study 4, and the CAS was correlated with independent

measures of career and vocational goal indecision and grade point average for Study 5.

The College Adjustment Scale takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

The approximate total time for an individual to complete all three instruments for this

study ranges from 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Data Collection

The research instruments were sent by mail to the survey population during the

early part of April. This period allowed first-semester Hispanic college students time to

experience being away from home and college life.

In the second week of April a packet containing a cover-request to participate

letter, an instruction sheet, a demographic questionnaire, and the three research

instruments (Appendices A and B) were mailed along with a self-addressed, stamped

return envelope. A week following the initial research packet, a follow-up phone call to

each student was conducted to encourage participation and return of instruments. Total








participant responses was collected prior to the end of the Spring 1995 semester. A

minimum of 155 questionnaires were collected, yielding 146 usable surveys.

Relevant Variables and Data Analysis

The dependent variables in this study are the college adjustment scores as defined

by the nine subscales of the CAS. The independent variables are the leaving home

adaptation scores as measured by the four subscales of the PSI, the two acculturation

scores of the BIQ, and gender.

The four research questions outlined previously in Chapter 3 were evaluated

using quantitative data analyses. Descriptive statistics of central tendency and dispersion

were computed for all variables and demographic factors. The research questions were

answered by computation of multiple regression analyses. College adjustment (CAS

scores) was the dependent variable and leaving home adaptation, acculturation, and

gender were the independent variables.













CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acculturation and the

leaving-home transition on college adjustment for the first-time Hispanic college student.

The data collection procedures, demographics, data analyses and results of this study are

presented in this chapter.

Data Collection

Two hundred-seventy-three research packets were mailed to first time Hispanic

college students from the University of Florida. Each research packet contained a cover-

request to participate letter, a demographic questionnaire, three research instruments, and

a self-addressed stamped envelope. Approximately one week after the packets were

mailed, the principal investigator and two colleagues called each student in the study to

ensure that the research packet had been received and to encourage participation.

A total of 155 packets were returned yielding 146 usable surveys. The responses

of nine persons were unusable because they had omitted answering some of the sections

of the research instruments or failed to return them completely. The sample yielded a

54% response rate.

Demographic Description of the Research Sample

The Hispanic sample (N=146) was composed of 57.5% females (N=84) and

42.5% (N=62) males (APPENDIX C), 52.7% of the respondents were 18 years of age

(N=77) and 43.8% were 19 (N=64). The entire sample (N=146, 100%) were classified








as freshmen. Most of them were single (N=141, 96.6%); 2.1% (N=3) were married; and

0.7% (N=1) were single and cohabiting or separated or divorced. With regard to

birthplace of students in the sample, 61.6% (N=90) were born in the United States; 2.1%

(N=3) were born in Mexico; 9.6% (N=14) were born in Puerto Rico; 5.5% (N=8) were

born in Cuba; 12.3% (N=18) were bor in Central America; 7.5% (N=ll) were born in

South America; and 1.4% (N=2) indicated origin in the Caribbean.

The majority of students in the sample (N=100, 68.5%) indicated that both of

their parents were born outside the United States This compared with 14.4% (N=21) of

the sample indicating that both of their parents were born in the United States. Eighty of

the respondents stated that they were the first child in their families to attend college

(55.2%), while 65 said they were not (44.8%). Out of the respondents who said no to this

question, 55.2% (N=32) had one other sibling who attended college and 25.9% (N=15)

had two.

The respondents in this study identified themselves as follows: Mexican (N=3,

2.1%); Puerto Rican (N=26, 17.8%); Cuban (N=60, 41.1%); Central and South American

(N=46, 31.5%); and Other (N=l 1, 7.5%). Thus, the largest number of respondents

identified themselves as being either Cuban (41.1%) or from Central and South America

(31.5%). Mexicans were the least represented group (N=3, 2.1%).

The majority of the respondents had lived in the United States for either 18

(32.9%) or 19 (25.3%) years. The next highest years living in the United States was 14

(6.8%) and the lowest was one year (0.7%).

A large percentage of the respondents reported not living at home with their

parents while attending college ( N=143, 97.9%) and 95.8% (N=138) stated that this was








the first time they had lived away from home. Thus, for the majority of the respondents,

attending college was the first time they had lived away from home and from their

parents.

Data Analyses

The four research questions were evaluated by using multiple regression analyses.

College Adjustment (CAS subscales) was the dependent variable and acculturation (BIQ

subscales), leaving-home transition (PSI subscales), and gender were the independent

variables. A complete analysis was conducted with all two-way interactions, resulting in

most of them not being significant. Another analysis was then conducted containing a

reduced model with only the two-way interactions of acculturation, leaving home

transition, and gender that were significant in the full model. The following nine

dependent variables, as measured by the College Adjustment Scales, were analyzed:

anxiety, interpersonal problems, family problems, substance abuse, career problems,

suicidal ideations, self-esteem problems, academic problems, and depression. The

probability level was set at p = 05.

Analyses by Dependent Variables

The following dependent variables were examined:

Anxiety. A multiple regression analysis found that conflictual independence from

the mother (MC) predicted anxiety (AN). For every one point increase in MC, expect. 11

decrease in AN (Table 1). Thus, as conflictual independence from the mother was

achieved, anxiety was found to decrease. The other measures of acculturation, leaving

home transition, and gender did not have an effect on anxiety.








Table 1

Multiple Regression Analysis of Anxiety on Gender, Acculturation, and Leaving Home
Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 11 1517.45 137.95 3.31 0.0007*
Error 91 3789.91 41.65
Total 102 5307.36

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 57.21 14.85 0.0002*
Gender 1 -0.65 1.50 0.6676
BICULT 1 0.05 0.05 0.2615
CULTINV 1 -0.09 0.08 0.2517
MF 1 0.06 0,12 0.5890
MC 1 -0.11 0.05 0.0255*
ME 1 -0.07 0.09 0.4483
MA 1 -0.05 0.10 0.6027
FF 1 -0.07 0.10 0.4813
FC 1 -0.08 0.05 0.1046
FE 1 -0.09 0.07 0.2169
FA 1 0.13 0.09 0.1670

*P<.05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence








Interpersonal problems. Conflictual independence from the father (FC), was

shown to predict interpersonal problems (IP). For every one point increase in FC, expect

.10 decrease in IP (Table 2). As conflictual independence from the father was achieved,

interpersonal problems were found to decrease. The other measures of acculturation,

leaving home transition, and gender did not have an effect on interpersonal problems.

Family problems. Gender and conflictual independence from the mother and the

father (MC and FC, respectively) were found to predict family problems (FP). With

every one point increase in gender, MC, and FC, expect a 1.93, .16, and. 12 decrease in

FP, respectively (Table 3). When conflictual independence from the mother and the

father were attained, family problems decreased. Males were found to experience a slight

increase in family problems. The other measures of acculturation and the leaving home

transition did not have an effect on family problems.

Substance abuse. No significant acculturation, leaving home transition, and

gender effects were found to predict substance abuse (Table 4).

Career problems. A regression was performed and cultural involvement

(CULTINV) was found to predict career problems (CP). For every one point increase in

CULTINV, expect .27 decrease in CP (Table 5). With an increase in cultural

involvement, there is a decrease in career problems. Also found significant in predicting

career problems was conflictual independence from the mother (MC). For every one

point increase in MC, expect .13 decrease in CP (Table 5). As conflictual independence

from the mother is achieved, career problems were found to decrease. The other

measures of acculturation, leaving home transition, and gender did not have an effect on

career problems.








Table 2

Multiple Regression Analysis of Interpersonal Problems on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 11 1024.44 93.13 2.94 0,0023*
Error 91 2880.39 31.65
Total 102 3904.83

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 50.59 12.95 0.0002*
Gender 1 1.46 1.31 0.2658
BICULT 1 0.00 0 04 0.9879
CULTINV 1 -0.12 007 0.0960
MF 1 -0.13 0 10 0.2024
MC 1 -0.07 0.04 0.1290
ME 1 -0.06 0.08 0.4306
MA 1 -0.02 0.09 0.8533
FF 1 -0.11 0.09 0.2267
FC 1 -0.10 004 0.0305*
FE 1 -0.02 0.06 0.7891
FA 1 0.06 0.08 04594

*P < .05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence








Table 3

Multiple Regression Analysis of Family Problems on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 11 2151.61 195.60 13.49 0.0001*
Error 91 1319.73 14.50
Total 102 3471.34

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 48.26 8.76 0.0001*
Gender 1 -1.93 0.89 0.0314*
BICULT 1 0.04 0.03 0.1678
CULTINV 1 -0.04 0.05 0.4272
MF 1 -0.13 0.07 0.0630
MC 1 -0.16 0.03 0.0001*
ME 1 -0.04 0.05 0.4467
MA 1 0.01 0.06 0.8978
FF 1 -0.06 0.06 0.3061
FC 1 -0.12 0.03 0.0001*
FE 1 -0.00 0.04 0.9387
FA 1 0.03 0.05 0.5473

*P<.05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence








Table 4

Multiple Regression Analysis of Substance Abuse on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 11 404.46 3677 1.17 0.3205
Error 91 2865.50 31.49
Total 102 3269.96

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 21.63 12.91 0.0974
Gender 1 0.32 1.30 0.8068
BICULT 1 -0.07 0.04 0.0962
CULTINV 1 0.00 0.07 0.9664
MF 1 0.10 0.10 0.3244
MC 1 -0.02 0.04 0.6331
ME 1 -0.03 0.08 0.6996
MA 1 -0.01 0.09 0.9417
FF 1 -0.06 0.09 0.4773
FC 1 -0.03 0.04 0.4646
FE 1 -0.05 0.06 0.4309
FA 1 -0.01 0.08 0.8581

*P< .05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence








Table 5

Multiple Regression Analysis of Career Problems on Gender. Acculturation. and Leaving
Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 11 2202.24 200.20 3.03 0.0017*
Error 91 6011.97 66.07
Total 102 8214.21

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 82.44 18.29 0.0001*
Gender 1 1.20 1.89 0.5270
BICULT 1 0.06 0 06 0.3628
CULTINV 1 -0.27 0 10 0.0085*
MF 1 0.07 0.15 0.6162
MC 1 -0.13 0.06 0.0373*
ME 1 -0.21 0.11 0.0611
MA 1 -0.01 0.13 0.9220
FF 1 0.16 0.13 0.2151
FC 1 -0.09 0.06 0.1740
FE 1 -0.12 009 0.1967
FA 1 0.04 0.12 0.7023

*P<,05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV= Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence






60

Suicidal ideations. A regression was conducted and biculturalism (BICULT), and

the interaction between biculturalism and conflictual independence from the mother

(BIMC), were found to be predictors of suicidal ideations (SI). Even though the main

effect of BICULT was found to be significant, it is absorbed by the interaction and will

be discussed through the interaction (Table 6).

The interaction between biculturalism and conflictual independence from the

mother (BIMC) was found to predict suicidal ideations (SI). To explain the BIMC

interaction, three equations were calculated for high MC (mean plus standard deviation),

medium MC (mean), and low MC (mean minus standard deviation). The three equations

were SI = 14.96 + .04 (BICULT) [High MC]; SI = 14.49 + -.03 (BICULT) [Medium

MC]; and SI = 14.01 + -.09 (BICULT) [Low MC] (Figure 1). With high MC, increasing

Hispanic monoculturalism was associated with increasing suicidal ideation, and with low

MC, decreases in suicidal ideation were seen with increasing Hispanic monoculturalism.

With high MC, increasing American monoculturalism was associated with decreasing

suicidal ideation, while with low MC, higher American monoculturalism was associated

with increasing suicidal ideation. With medium MC, suicidal ideations show slight

significant effects toward biculturalism. At the most bicultural scores (i.e., close to zero)

the level of MC does not differentially predict suicidal ideation. The other measures of

acculturation, leaving home transition, and gender did not have an effect on suicidal

ideations.








Table 6

Multiple Regression Analysis of Suicidal Ideations on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 12 573.90 47.83 3.44 0.0004*
Error 90 1252.95 13.92
Total 102 1826.85

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 12.84 8.40 0.1301
Gender 1 1.37 0.88 0.1205
BICULT 1 -0.32 0.08 0.0002*
CULTINV 1 -0.01 0.05 0.7538
MF 1 0.08 0.07 0.2652
MC 1 0.03 0.04 0.3757
ME 1 -0.01 0.05 0.8719
MA 1 -0.00 0.06 0.9693
FF 1 -0.03 0.06 0.6089
FC 1 -0.03 0.03 0.2621
FE 1 -0.00 0.04 0.9683
FA 1 0.06 0.06 0.2783
BIMC 1 0.004 0.001 0.0004*

*P <.05


BICULT= Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence
Interaction = BIMC







62







17.39




S1562

*High MC
15.05
SMedium MC
W 14.42
4 13.46 14.26 (High)
B15.02 (Medkum) LOw MC
ss15 59 (Low) 13.80
13









x-SD 5 x+SD
(-37.51) (-17.60) (2.31)

Biculturalism





S=Mean
SD = Standard Deviation
MC = Conflictual Independence from the Mother










Figure 1

Predicted Suicidal Ideations from Biculturalism and Conflictual Independence from the
Mother after Controlling for Acculturation. Leaving Home Transition. and Gender








Self-esteem problems. The main effects ofbiculturalism (BICULT) and

emotional independence from the mother (ME) were found to predict self-esteem problems

(SE). These were reported in the interactions.

The interaction between biculturalism and conflictual independence from the

mother (BIMC) was found to be a significant predictor of self-esteem problems (SE). The

following three equations were calculated, for high MC (mean plus standard deviation),

medium MC (mean), and low MC (mean minus standard deviation). The three equations

were SE = 25.40 + 0.1 (BICULT) [High MC]; SE = 25.47 + .02 (BICULT) [Medium

MC]; and SE = 25.53 + -.06 (BICULT) [Low MC] (Figure 2). With high MC as students

become more monoculturally Hispanic, self-esteem problems increase. With medium MC,

self-esteem problems are unrelated to biculturalism. With low MC as students become

more monoculturally Hispanic, self-esteem problems decrease.

For students more monoculturally American, high MC is associated with decreases

in self-esteem and low MC with increases in self-esteem problems as biculturalism score

decreases ( reflecting American monoculturalism). For students who are truly bicultural

(i.e., scoring close to zero on the biculturalism scale) the level of MC does not differentiate

self-esteem problems (Table 7).

The interaction between cultural involvement and emotional independence from

the mother (CUME) was found to predict self-esteem problems (SE) (Table 7). Three

equations were calculated for high ME (mean plus standard deviation), medium ME

(mean), and low ME (mean minus standard deviation). The three equations were SE =

80.98 + -.38 (CULTINV) [High ME]; SE = 62.4 + -.25 (CULTINV) [Medium ME]; and

SE = 43.8 + -.11 (CULTINV) [Low ME] (Figure 3). At all levels of ME, increasing

















27.78
28

2659

26 '' ..
26.59 25.12 *
Medium -- --

23.64


High MC
25.63
mediumm I
5.52
Low MC
25.39


21.65


x SD x + SD
(-37.51) (-17.60) (2.31)
Biculturalism


x= Mean
SD = Standard Deviation
MC = Conflictual Independence from the Mother












Figure 2


Predicted Self-esteem Problems from Biculturalism and Conflictual Independence from
the Mother after Controlline for Acculturation. Leaving Home Transition. and Gender








Table 7

Multiple Regression Analysis of Self-Esteem Problems on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving-Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 15 1617.33 107.82 3.30 0.0002*
Error 87 2845.06 32.70
Total 102 4462.39

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate


Intercep
Gender
BICULT
CULTINV
MF
MC
ME
MA
FF
FC
FE
FA
GENME
BIMC
CUFA
CUME


14.30
-4.14
-0.35
0.11
0.03
-0.00
1.39
-0.10
0.01
-0.07
-0.08
-0.64
0.16
0.005
0.01
-0.011


30.14
3.76
0.13
0.19
0.11
0.06
0.65
0.09
0.09
0.05
0.07
0.55
0.10
0.002
0.00
0.004


0.6363
0.2740
0.0079*
0.5566
0.7847
0.9483
0.0335*
0.2781
0.9097
0.1409
0.2061
0.2445
0.1041
0.0082*
0.1789
0.0069*


*P <.05


L illnd
BICULT = Biculturalism


CULTINV = Cultural Involvement


M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence
Interactions = GENME, BIMC, CUFA, AND CUME








cultural involvement was associated with decreases in SE. At higher levels of cultural

involvement, higher levels of ME produced proportionally greater decreases in SE. The

other measures of acculturation, leaving home transition, and gender did not have an

effect on self-esteem problems.

Academic problems. Gender was found to predict academic problems (AP). For

every one point increase in gender, expect 3.19 increase in academic problems. Males

were found to have more academic problems than females (Table 8).

Cultural involvement (CULTINV) and conflictual independence from the mother

(MC) were found to predict academic problems. These were discussed further in the

interaction explanation.

Conflictual independence from the father (FC) was found to predict academic

problems (AP). For every one point increase in FC, expect .13 decrease in academic

problems (Table 8). When conflictual independence from the father is achieved,

academic problems decrease.

The interaction between cultural involvement and conflictual Independence from

the mother (CUMC) was found to predict academic problems (AP). There were three

equations calculated for high MC (mean plus standard deviation), medium MC (mean),

and low MC (mean minus standard deviation). The three equations were AP = 10.14 +

.21 (CULTINV) [High MC]; AP = 32.68 + .06 (CULTINV) [Medium MC]; and AP =

55.21 + -.1 (CULTINV) [Low MC] (Figure 4). At levels of cultural involvement above

the mean high, MC was associated with increases in academic problems; low MC with

decreases in academic problems. With medium MC, academic problems are unrelated

















28.55


* 2723


E
26 2472






0
E





-SD24
4)






(138.70) (150.72
UI)22

21



19

(138.70) (150.72)

Cultural Involvement




xT =Mean
SD = Standard Deviation
ME = Emotional Independence from the Mother







Figure 3


* Low ME
25.91







.Medium ME
21.71


S+SD
(162.74)


Predicted Self-esteem Problems from Cultural Involvement and Emotional Independence
from the Mother after Controlline for Acculturation. Leaving Home Transition. and
Gender


'









Table 8

Multiple Regression Analysis of Academic Problems on Gender. Acculturation. and
Leaving Home Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 12 2548.59 212.38 5.07 0.0001*
Error 90 3772.91 41.92
Total 102 6321.50

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 146.34 44.83 0.0016*
Gender 1 3.19 1.52 0.0391*
BICULT 1 0.04 0.05 0.4456
CULTINV 1 -068 0.29 0.0234*
MF 1 0.12 0.12 0.2955
MC 1 -1.43 0.56 0.0128*
ME 1 -0.10 0.09 0.2683
MA 1 -0.12 0.10 0.2455
FF 1 0.17 0.10 0.0986
FC 1 -0.13 0.05 0.0097*
FE 1 -0.19 0.07 0.0100*
FA 1 0.15 0.09 0.1226
CUMC 1 0.009 0.004 0.0226*

*P<.05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence
Interaction = CUMC



















SHigh MC
<4 44.32

32
M 4 C t ne41.79 fm-edium MC
Fi gure* 44244

4I 41.72
E 4o --
S ^ ... 40.14 4.....4
S39 --3927 L".** Low MC
33894

37




S-SD x + SD
(138.70) (150.72) (162.74)

Cultural Involvement





R = Mean
SD = Standard Deviation
MC = Conflictual Independence from the Mother











Figure 4

Predicted Academic Problems from Cultural Involvement and Conflictual Independence
from the Mother after Controlling for Acculturation. Leaving Home Transition, and
Gender








with cultural involvement. At levels of cultural involvement below the mean, the effects

of MC on academic problems are reversed, i.e., high MC was associated with decreases in

academic problems and low MC with increases in academic problems (Table 8). The other

measures of acculturation and leaving home transition did not have an effect on academic

problems.

Deression. A regression was performed and conflictual independence from the

mother (MC) was found to predict depression (DP). For every one point increase in MC,

expect .11 decrease in DP ( Table 9). If conflictual independence from the mother has

been achieved, there is a decrease in depression. The other measures of acculturation,

leaving home transition, and gender did not have an effect on depression.

Research Ouestions Summaries

This study examined the following research questions:

1 Does the leaving home transition predict adjustment to college among

traditional college-age Hispanic students when controlling for acculturation and gender?

The main effects of leaving home transition, as measured by the PSI, did predict

the following college adjustment dependent variables: Conflictual independence from the

mother (MC) predicted anxiety, family problems, career problems, academic problems,

and depression; emotional independence from the mother (ME) predicted self-esteem

problems; conflictual independence from the father (FC) predicted interpersonal problems,

family problems, and academic problems; and emotional independence from the father

(FE) predicted academic problems.

2. Does the level of acculturation predict adjustment to college among traditional

college-age Hispanic students when controlling for leaving home transition and gender?








Table 9

Multiple Regression Analysis of Depression on Gender. Acculturation. and Leaving Home
Transition Variables


Source DF Sum of Mean F Prob>F
Squares Square Value

Model 12 878.60 73.22 2.43 0.0087*
Error 90 2707.13 30.08
Corrected
Total 102 3585.73

Variable DF Parameter Standard Error Prob
Estimate of Estimate

Intercep 1 51.02 12.39 0.0001*
Gender 1 -3.26 3.48 0.3518
BICULT 1 0.01 0.04 0.7751
CULTINV 1 -0.10 0.07 0.1455
MF 1 0.13 0.10 0.2002
MC 1 -0.11 0.04 0.0174*
ME 1 -0.20 0.14 0.1615
MA 1 -0.09 0.09 0.3101
FF 1 -0.00 0.09 0.9571
FC 1 -0.08 0.04 0.0748
FE 1 -0.03 0.06 0.5853
FA 1 0.06 0.08 0.4643
GENME 1 0.08 0.09 0.3599

*P < .05

Legend
BICULT = Biculturalism CULTINV = Cultural Involvement
M = Mother F = Functional Independence A = Attitudinal Independence
F = Father C = Conflictual Independence E = Emotional Independence
Interaction = GENME








The main effects of acculturation, as measured by the BIQ, did predict the

following college adjustment dependent variables: Biculturalism (BICULT) predicted

suicidal ideations and self-esteem, and cultural involvement (CULTINV) predicted career

problems and academic problems.

3. Do the level of acculturation and leaving home transition interact to predict

college adjustment for Hispanic students?

The main interactions between acculturation and leaving home transition did

predict the following college adjustment variables: Biculturalism-conflictual independence

from the mother (BIMC) predicted suicidal ideations and self-esteem; cultural

involvement-emotional independence from the mother (CUME) predicted self-esteem; and

cultural involvement-conflictual independence from the mother (CUMC) predicted

academic problems.

4. Do the level of acculturation and the leaving home transition interact with

gender to predict college adjustment for Hispanic students?

No significant main interactions between acculturation, leaving home transition,

and gender were found to predict college adjustment.














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

This study investigated the variables of acculturation biculturalismm and cultural

involvement) and the leaving home transition (conflictual independence, functional

independence, attitudinal independence, and emotional independence) as they related to

college adjustment (anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, substance abuse, self-esteem

problems, interpersonal problems, family problems, academic problems, and career

problems) for Hispanic students. The independent and dependent variables were

analyzed using a multiple regression model. This investigation sought to expand the

limited information regarding college adjustment among Hispanic students.

The relationship of the findings to the four research questions are discussed in this

chapter. The remainder of this chapter includes limitations of this study, implications of

the research, and recommendations for future research.

Discussion of Results

Research Ouestion 1

The first research question explored the leaving home transition, as measured by

the Psychological Separation Inventory (PSI), to see if it predicted college adjustment for

Hispanic students. The results indicated that conflictual independence and emotional

independence from the mother and the father have significant effects toward college

adjustment. The PSI defined Conflictual Independence as freedom from excessive guilt,

anxiety, mistrust, and resentment. Results indicated that conflictual independence from








the mother (MC) was significant in decreasing anxiety, family problems, career

problems, academic problems, and depression. Conflictual independence from the father

resulted in a decrease in interpersonal, family, and academic problems for the Hispanic

college student in this sample.

Emotional independence is described as freedom from excessive need for

approval, closeness, and emotional support. Emotional independence from the mother

(ME) was related to a decrease in self-esteem problems and emotional independence

from the father (FE) was related to decreased academic problems.

The literature has shown that during the leaving home transition, individuals may

experience anxiety, stress, substance abuse, family and marital problems, and difficulty in

establishing social and work related networks. These findings suggest that if an

individual is able to achieve emotional and conflictual independence from the mother and

the father they may experience a healthier leaving home transition. Freedom from

conflictual and emotional restraints from the mother and the father may allow the

Hispanic college student to face the rigors of adjusting to college in a more productive

and positive manner.

Research Ouestion 2

The second research question addressed the issue of acculturation as a predictor

of college adjustment among Hispanic students. Acculturation in this study was

measured by the bicultural involvement questionnaire (BIQ). Biculturalism score was

found to predict suicidal ideations and self-esteem problems.

When an individual has failed to become bicultural there is a sense of loneliness;

of not belonging or fitting in; of not able to understand one's surroundings; and of having








the feeling that one's personal values and traditions are not congruent with the majority

culture in which they live. These feelings can lead an individual to experience low self-

esteem and possibly contemplate suicide.

Cultural involvement score was found to predict career problems. If cultural

involvement is experienced, career problems decrease. A possible explanation to this

outcome is that the more exposed the individual is to their environment, the greater

contact they have with diverse employment settings which can assist in career decision

making. A lack of cultural involvement would result in fewer opportunities to experience

the world of work.

Research Ouestion 3

The third research question explored the interaction between acculturation and

leaving home transition. The interaction between biculturalism and conflictual

independence from the mother (BIMC) predicted suicidal ideations and self-esteem

problems. The results indicated that those Hispanic students who were Hispanically

monocultural benefitted from maintaining a degree of connection with the mother by

experiencing less SI. The opposite was true for Hispanic students who were

monoculturally Americanized in that conflictual independence from the mother was

needed to lower SI. Comfort in maintaining connection with the family of origin (i.e., the

mother) is characteristic of Hispanic families and is beneficial for college adjustment.

For the Hispanic student who is Hispanically monoculturalized, exhibiting MC would

conflict with traditional Hispanic expectations to maintain continued involvement with

the family into adulthood, and would be expected to create friction with the family of






76

origin and thus not facilitate college adjustment. Comfort with high MC requires that the

Hispanic student be Americanized.

Self-esteem was predicted by the interaction between biculturalism and

conflictual independence from the mother (BIMC). The effects of the interaction BIMC

were similar to those observed in regard to suicidal ideations. Again, a close familial

connection is a benefit for monoculturally Hispanic students in reducing self-esteem

problems, and high levels of conflictual independence from the family require cultural

Americanization in order to not be a detriment to self-esteem and college adjustment.

The interaction between cultural involvement and emotional independence from

the mother (CUME) predicted self-esteem problems (SE). The association between

increases in self-esteem problems and cultural marginality may reflect a degree of social

isolation and lack of life experiences outside the family which would allow building of

confidence and self-esteem. The importance of the familial influence on self-esteem is

illustrated by the observation that each increasing level of ME in turn produced

correspondingly greater decrease in self-esteem problems when high cultural

involvement was experienced. For the Hispanic freshmen college student who is

experiencing leaving home for the first time, failure to experience a healthy emotional

separation from the family of origin may be traumatic and anxiety producing, thus

contributing to problems with self-esteem and college adjustment. A balance of familial

and cultural influences is necessary for healthy self-esteem and college adjustment.

The interaction between cultural involvement and conflictual independence from

the mother (CUMC) predicted academic problems (AP). It appeared that by having low

MC, there was a decrease in AP while cultural involvement increased. The opposite was








true for high MC, which was associated with an increase in AP as cultural involvement

increased. The results indicated that some connection with the family of origin (i.e., the

mother) decreased AP. A possible explanation may be due to the value placed on

education by Hispanic families. The students who were culturally involved and

maintained contact with the family might have felt pressure to succeed in academic

studies and performance in order to uphold familial expectations, while the students who

achieved MC were under less pressure from the family and thus were distracted from

academic focus while maintaining cultural involvement. These interactions are not

readily explainable and more research into the familial and cultural influences on AP is

needed.

These interactions indicated the importance for Hispanic students to develop

social skills which would allow them to establish new networks that will serve as support

systems while attending college. The degree of engagement with the family of origin,

especially the mother, influenced levels of SI and SE problems, but varied with

acculturation. There is a notably beneficial effect on these variables of maintaining close

maternal connection for Hispanic students who are not highly bicultural. The Hispanic

student will need to maintain a balance between independence and dependence from the

family of origin, in order to succeed in leaving home and adjusting to college.

Research Ouestion 4

The fourth research question looked at the interaction between acculturation and

leaving home transition to see if they interact with gender to predict college adjustment

for Hispanic students. The statistical results showed no significant interaction effect in

predicting adjustment to college. Gender was found to be significant in predicting








academic problems and family problems as a single main effect. Males were found to

experience slightly more academic and family problems than females in this study. The

literature supports this outcome in that Hispanic males experience more academic

stressors than females. Males were also found to have more problems with the family

than females. It is unknown exactly why males experience difficulties in relationships

with family members. It may be explained by the fact that Hispanic males are expected,

and sometimes encouraged, to restrain from self-expression, except for the show of

anger. This lack of freedom to express one's emotions may contribute to the Hispanic

male experiencing greater conflict within the family structure. Another explanation for

why Hispanic males experience conflict with the family and academic difficulties may be

increased pressure from the family to attend and succeed in college. If the Hispanic male

is not able to achieve this expectation, then conflicts with the family will arise, in turn

increasing his academic difficulties and affecting his adjustment to college.

Overall, gender differences were present, but not enough to reach statistical

significance. This indicates that the Hispanic males and females in this study were

equally affected by the leaving home transition factors in adjusting to college.

Limitations

This study had some inherent limitations. First, information about Hispanic

college students' acculturation, leaving home transition, and adjustment to college was

obtained by a rather select subgroup of Hispanic students who, at some level, succeeded

in educational systems in which most Hispanic individuals have not been successful.

Secondly, since one major university was used, the results based on this select group of

Hispanic college students may not be generalizable to all Hispanic subgroups. Further,








the generalizablity of this study is limited by geographic location. It is possible that the

results may have been different in a state that is not as heavily Hispanic populated as

Florida. This sample was predominately Hispanic and slightly more female then male

respondents. The term "Hispanic" is used to encompass distinct cultural groups. There

may be differences among the groups, but these were not addressed in this study.

Limitations due to instrumentation exist in this study. This study relied on self-

report questionnaire and instruments which are susceptible to respondent bias.

Furthermore, self-report instruments may be problematic given the tendency for Hispanic

subjects to be less willing to disclose personal information (Malina & Franico, 1986).

Fatigue experienced by the respondents is another limitation for this study. The

combined time needed to complete the demographic questionnaire and the research

instruments was approximately 45 minutes. This limitation was addressed by selecting

instruments that used Likert-type scales so that respondents could find ease in answering

the questions. It is not known whether incorporating open-ended questions or an

interview component would have yielded different results.

And finally, the combination of the measures used in this investigation has not

been used in any previous study and, therefore, comparisons with other investigations

may not be possible.

Implications of the Findings and Recommendations

This research has helped increase understanding of the effects that acculturation

and the leaving home transition have on predicting college adjustment for Hispanic

college students. There are implications for theory, universities and colleges, and

research.








Implications for Theory

The results of this study supported the notion that the leaving home transition

offered greater predictability of college adjustment for Hispanic students than did the

acculturation variables. This suggests that Hispanic students may experience some

similar issues and concerns as non-Hispanic students in adjusting to college. Conflictual

and emotional independence from the mother and the father were found to influence 7

out of 9 dependent variables (anxiety, depression, academic problems, career problems,

interpersonal problems, family problems, and self-esteem problems). Acculturation, as

measured by the BIQ, by comparison predicted 3 out of 9 dependent variables (Self-

esteem problems, suicidal ideations, and career problems). However, when the

interactions between acculturation and leaving home transition were examined,

significant interactions were observed that enhanced the use of the acculturation scale in

predicting college adjustment.

Between the mother and the father, more main effects and interactions took place

with the mother figure. This indicates that the mother-child relationship may play a

central role in the leaving home transition and in the adjustment to college among

Hispanic students. This conclusion is supported in the literature, i.e., that the Hispanic

mother's role in child rearing is greater than the Hispanic father's.

Implications for Universities and Colleges

It is important for administrators, student affairs personnel, and campus mental

health providers to understand the stressors that affect Hispanic college students,

especially during the leaving home transition. A greater understanding of the stressors

and obstacles that affect Hispanic college students can lead to an increased rate of

retention and graduation from college.






81

Sensitivity training and knowledge of Hispanic issues and concerns are suggested

for university staff that come into contact with Hispanic students to better assist them in

adjusting to college or with the leaving home transition. Academic and psychological

monitoring can be implemented to allow for early detection of academic or emotional

problems encountered due to the leaving home transition or college adjustment.

Another recommendation was to increase family outreach during recruitment and

college orientation programs. By exposing Hispanic students and their families to what

the "college experience" is all about, greater awareness to the rigors of college life and

the campus resources available to assist in dealing with them can be promulgated.

Hence, by allowing expectations towards college to be shared by the parents and the

student, adjustment to college can be enhanced.

Implications for Future Research

Recommendations for future research include more investigation into the leaving

home transition and its effects on college adjustment. The results of this investigation

revealed that the leaving home transition's main effects of conflictual and emotional

independence were significant in predicting the psychological stressors in leaving home

for college and adjusting to college.

Further research into the mother-child role is important, since the findings

indicated that experiencing conflictual and emotional independence from the mother, and

to a lower degree with the father, created maladaptive behaviors in adjusting to college.

Longitudinal research needs to be done on Hispanic college students and Hispanic

families. More research on Hispanic students is needed to determine how they progress

from the freshmen year through graduation. The overall development skills needed to








successfully complete college for Hispanic students are unknown. Longitudinal studies

on the role of Hispanic families and how they impact the Hispanic student's success or

failure in college need to be explored. These data would be helpful in determining how

and when campus mental health providers should intervene into an Hispanic college

student's life to offset potentially damaging effects of adjusting to college.

The literature clearly suggested that there is a need for more information on how

to attract, maintain, and graduate Hispanic students from both secondary and post

secondary institutions. A greater understanding of how spirituality, financial

considerations, and the ability to seek and maintain social support systems is suggested to

see what impact they may have on college adjustment for Hispanic students.

This research also has implications for research with other ethnic minorities

(African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans) that may be similar in

regard to the demands experienced by Hispanic students in adjusting to college.

Research with these various populations may provide answers to questions regarding the

stressors of leaving home and adjusting to college. Such research could provide

assistance in recruiting practices and in developing programs that would increase

retention and graduation rates among all ethnic groups.

Conclusions

In conclusion, this researcher has described the experience of freshmen Hispanic

students in adjusting to college. Regression equations were performed to test if the level

of acculturation and leaving home transition would predict college adjustment for

Hispanic students. The results of the data analyses indicated that the leaving home

transition had a higher incidence in predicting adjustment to college than did








acculturation levels. It was only when the interaction between acculturation and leaving

home transition was analyzed that acculturation variables were seen as predictors of

college adjustment. Examination ofbiculturalism levels provided additional insights into

Hispanic students' adaptation to college. The familial relationship between the student

and his or her mother is a critical factor during the leaving home transition. The manner

in which the separation from the mother, and to a larger degree the whole family, is

experienced will influence the success or failure in adjusting to college.

This study highlights the need to increase understanding of the factors that

contribute to Hispanic college students' success Without an education, an individual is

limited in their potential to achieve and compete for a better standard of living. Insuring

that Hispanic Americans acquire a college education is, in part, the responsibility of the

institutions they will attend. Understanding the factors that contribute to student success

can help the institutions intervene in ways that increase Hispanic student retention and

graduation from college.













APPENDIX A
COVER-REQUEST TO PARTICIPATE LETTER

Dear Student, ID#

My name is Carlos A. Hernandez. I am a doctoral candidate in the Counselor

Education Department at the University of Florida. I am currently conducting research

associated with my doctoral dissertation which is a study of the roles acculturation and

the leaving home transition have in predicting college adjustment among first semester

Hispanic college students. Included in this study are all freshman Hispanic students from

the University of Florida.

Enclosed you will find a demographic questionnaire and three research

instruments that you can complete at home. I ask that you take the time, approximately

40-45 minutes, to complete all research materials and return them in the self-addressed,

stamped envelope provided. You do not have to answer any questions you do not wish to

answer. The results will be kept confidential and used for research purposes only. The

enclosed instruments have a coded ID number printed on the upper right-hand corer to

facilitate mailing notification.

I appreciate your taking the time to complete the instruments. Your participation

is valuable and strictly voluntary Please complete the research instruments and return

within the next week. If you have any questions, please write (P.O. Box 141690,

Gainesville, FL 32614-1690) or phone (904-392-7176).

Sincerely,

Carlos A. Hernandez, Principal Investigator














APPENDIX B
DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE

ID#

Respond to the following questions by selecting the answer which best represents you.
Please answer all questions
(A). What is your gender? What is your age?
(Please circle your answer) 1. Female 2. Male

(B). What is your student classification? (Place a check mark by answer)

1. Freshman
2. Sophomore
3. Junior
4. Senior

(C). What is your present marital status? (Place a check mark by answer)

1. Single, never married
2. Married
3. Single and cohabiting_
4. Separated or divorced

(D). What is your place of Birth?


(E). Which of the following applies to your family of origin ? (Place a check mark by
answer)
1. Both parents born outside the United States
2. Father born outside U.S.; Mother born in United States
3. Father born in U.S.; Mother born outside United States
4. Both parents born in the United States

(F). Are you the first child in your family to attend college? (Circle your answer)
Yes No

If no, then how many have attended?






86
(G). Which of the following Hispanic-Latino groups do you most identify with?
(Choose one only)
1. Mexican
2. Puerto Rican
3. Cuban
4. Central and South American
5. Other


(H). How long have you lived in the United States?

(I). As a student attending college, do you live at home with your parents)

(Circle your answer) Yes No

((J). If you do not live at home with your parentss, is this your first time living away
from home? (Circle your answer) Yes No














APPENDIX C
DEMOGRAPHICS OF SAMPLE ON CATEGORICAL VARIABLES

Sample Size (N=146)

Gender
Female 84 (57.5%)
Male 62 (42.5%)
AUe
18 77 (52.7%)
19 64 (43.8%)
20 4 (2.7%)
23 1 (0.7%)
Classification
Freshmen 146 (100.0%)
Marital Status
Single, never married 141 (96.6%)
Married 3 (2.1%)
Single and cohabiting 1 (0.7%)
Separated or divorced 1 (0.7%)
Birthplace
United States 90 (61.6%)
Mexico 3 (2.1%)
Puerto Rico 14 (9.6%)
Cuba 8 (5 5%)
Central America 18 (12.3%)
South America 11 (7.5%)
Other 2 (1.4%)
Family of Origin
Both parents born outside U.S. 100 (68.5%)
Father born outside U.S.;Mother
born in U.S. 13 (8.9%)
Father born in U.S.; Mother
born outside U.S. 12 (8.2%)
Both parents born in the U.S. 21 (14.4%)

Are you the first child in your family to attend college?
Yes 80 (55.2%)
No 65 (44.8%)
(NOTE: 1 respondent did not answer)








If No. then how many have attended?
1 32 (55.2%)
2 15 (25.9%)
3 5 (8.6%)
4 3 (5.2%)
5 3 (5.2%)
(NOTE: 7 respondents did not answer)
Which of the following Hispanic-Latino groups do you most identify with?
Mexican 3 (2.1%)
Puerto Rican 26 (17.8%)
Cuban 60 (41.1%)
Central &South American 46 (31.5%)
Other 11 (7.5%)
How long have you lived in the United States?
1 1 (0.7%)
3 1 (0.7%)
4 1 (0.7%)
5 3 (2.1%)
6 2 (1.4%)
7 2 (1.4%)
8 6 (4.1%)
9 5 (3.4%)
10 5 (3.4%)
11 4 (2.7%)
12 3 (2.1%)
13 1 (0.7%)
14 10 (6.8%)
15 6 (4.1%)
16 7 (4.8%)
17 4 (2.7%)
18 48 (32.9%)
19 37 (25 3%)
As a student attending college, do you live at home with your parents?
Yes 3 (2.1%)
No 143 (97.9%)
If you do not live at home with your parents, is this your first time away from home?
Yes 138 (95.8%)
No 6 (4.2%)
(NOTE: 2 respondents did not answer)













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