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Social support, stress, and adaptation
establishment (Zhou, 1997).
Potential antecedents of adjustment in immigrant students include family and peer values, language
difficulties, socioeconomic status, family and school expectations, racial and ethnic prejudice, the child’s
age and temperament, stress related to immigration and loss of social relationships, conditions of migration,
ethnic identification, acculturation, biculturalism and student-parent acculturation conflict (Barr & Lacey,
1998; Coll & Magnuson, 1997; Fisher, Jackson, & Villarruel, 1998; Fuligni, 1997; Gil & Vega, 1996;
Hernandez & Charney, 1998; Rumbaut, 1997; Zhou, 1997). In general, however, researchers agree that
the current data are insufficient and inconclusive.
The focus of the proposed study is on the emotional, behavioral, and academic adjustment of
immigrant children and adolescents, in relation to their exposure to family stress and their availability of
social support following migration. The hypothesis is that higher levels of family stress and lower levels of
social support will be associated with poorer adjustment. Sources of postmigration stress to be examined
in the study include general life stress, economic hardship, acculturation conflict, and perceived
The sample (N = 600) will consist of 200 children (100 boys; 100 girls) at each of three grade
levels (3, 6, and 9). Participants will be selected randomly from among newly immigrated school entrants.
Informed consent will be obtained from parents for all child and adolescent participants and the participants
will sign assent forms. To ensure confidentiality, participant names will be removed from interviews prior to
data entry, and the interviews will be identified only by a number code. Parents, school personnel, and all
others involved in the project will be told that no information will be released about individual participants.