Social support, risk, and adjustment of immigrant preadolescents

Gaston Luis Bustos, Florida International University


The current study was designed to explore the salience of social support, immigrant status, and risk in middle childhood and early adolescence across two time periods as indicated by measures of school adjustment and well-being. Participants included 691 children of public elementary schools in grades 4 and 6 who were interviewed in 1997 (Time 1) and reinterviewed two years later (Time 2); 539 were U.S.-born, and 152 were foreign-born. Repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA's) were conducted to assess the effects of immigrant status and risk on total support, well-being, and school adjustment from Time 1 to Time 2. Follow-up analyses, including Student-Newman-Keuls post hoc tests, were used to test the significance of the differences among the means of support categories (low and high), immigrant status (U.S. born and non-U.S. born), risk (low and high) and time (time 1 and time 2). Results showed that immigrant participants in the high risk group reported significantly lower levels of support than their peers. Further, children of low risk at Time 2 indicated the highest levels of support. Second, immigrant preadolescents, preadolescents who reported low levels of social support, and preadolescents of the high risk reported lower levels of emotional well-being. There was also an interaction of support by risk by time, indicating that children who are at risk and had low levels of social support reported more emotional problems at Time 1. Finally, preadolescents who are at risk and preadolescents who reported lower levels of support were more likely to show school adaptation problems. Findings from this study highlight the importance of a multivariable approach to the study of support, emotional adjustment, and academic adjustment of immigrant preadolescents.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Bustos, Gaston Luis, "Social support, risk, and adjustment of immigrant preadolescents" (2002). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3057591.