Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Ester R. Shapiro

Second Advisor

Tahirah Abdullah

Third Advisor

Rosalyn Negron


This study applied the integrative model for the study of developmental competencies in minority children (Garcia Coll, et al., 1996) as a framework to explore the developmental pathways that promote wellness for immigrant Latino youth within the context of anti-immigrant environments. Whereas Garcia Coll and colleagues (1994) focus on variables studied through aggregated data using quantitative methods, this study builds upon their framework using Latino critical race theory and qualitative social ecological approaches to explore individual, interpersonal, and contextual experiences of development, access to resources, and family processes that foster the creation of adaptive cultures and wellness in anti-immigrant environments. Participants were fifteen college-enrolled adults (ages 18-25) who self-identified as Latino immigrants concerned with issues of anti-immigrant/anti-Latino sentiment in the US and its impacts. Eight participants identified as male, five identified as female, and two identified as two-spirited or genderqueer.

Twelve participants were from the greater Boston area and three participants were from the Los Angeles area. This study utilized thematic analysis (Braune and Clarke, 2006) of the data in order to identify repeated patterns of meaning, which were organized into main themes and dimensions. This method of analysis revealed five major themes: 1) Definitions of Success and Wellness, which described the ways in which participants conceptualized success and wellness in their lives; 2) Facing Challenges in Anti-immigrant Environments, which described the context of anti-immigrant and anti-Latino environments participants navigate; 3) Developing Competencies that Contribute to Positive Adaptation, that included the specific competencies that participants developed in order to meet the demands of their environments; 4) Using Resources and Competencies to Face Barriers to Wellness, which includes tangible resources that support wellness, the importance of community support, and effective coping strategies; and 5) The Role of Family, encompassing the support students receive from families and how they navigate challenges that emerge within the family unit. These themes illustrate the contexts Latino immigrant youth navigate and the multiple resources they mobilize in order to survive and thrive to achieve their own interpretations of success and wellness. Discussions of the integrative model’s contributions and limitations as well as recommendations are presented.


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