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J Early Adolesc. 2009 Nov 5;29(1):71-98.

Language Brokering Contexts and Behavioral and Emotional Adjustment among Latino Parents and Adolescents.

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  • 1Oregon Social Learning Center.

Abstract

This study examined behavioral and emotional adjustment in family contexts in which there was high versus low demand for adolescents to serve as language brokers in a sample of 73 recently immigrated Latino families with middle-school-aged adolescents. Language brokering was conceptualized as a family process rather than merely an individual phenomenon. Multiple agents were used to assess language brokering and parent and youth adjustment. Results indicated that high language brokering contexts had negative associations with family stress, parenting effectiveness, and adolescent adjustment in terms of academic functioning, socioemotional health, and substance use. The findings are particularly important given the limited and mixed findings from formative research on language brokering, particularly in areas within the United States with emerging immigrant populations. Findings suggest the need for advancing practices that increase language and cultural supports for immigrant families and support parents' efforts to foster positive youth and family adjustment.

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