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J Soc Issues. 2010 Mar;66(1):131-153. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

Fitting In: The Roles of Social Acceptance and Discrimination in Shaping the Academic Motivations of Latino Youth in the U.S. Southeast.

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Using data on 459 Latino 9(th) graders from the LA-SIAA and the NC-SIAA studies, we evaluate the specific educational values and beliefs that motivate the academic achievement of Latino youth and contrast the school experiences of Latino youth in an emerging Latino community, North Carolina, with the school experiences of youth living in a traditional settlement community, Los Angeles. Despite their greater fears of discrimination, we find that Latino youth in North Carolina are more academically motivated than their peers in Los Angeles. This is partially because they are more likely to be immigrants. Being an immigrant, having a stronger sense of ethnic identification, and having a stronger sense of family obligation were each linked to a more positive view of school environments. Therefore, these factors each partially explained the immigrant advantage in academic motivation and helped to counter the harmful effects of discrimination on academic motivation.

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