UCLA Latino Policy Studies Research Projects 2006-2007

Socio-Cultural Processes and Mexican American Families’ Care-Giving

Principal Investigator: Steven R. Lopez, Professor, UCLA Department of Psychology

The overall objective of this study is to examine the sociocultural basis of caregiving provided by Mexican-origin families to relatives with schizophrenia. The specific aims are (a) to replicate our previous finding, that family-caregiver’s warmth is associated with a lower probability of relapse, and (b) to examine the sociocultural basis of the relationship between family warmth and relapse. Both quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to examine the cultural processes underlying this relationship. We have completed a baseline assessment of sixty Mexican American patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and determined each patient’s key relative. We are now carrying out a nine-month follow-up for each patient that requires monthly clinical evaluations of the patient’s functioning and monthly contact with the key relative. Current mental health treatment focuses on individual patients. Findings from this study would support protocols that involve the family when treating persons with serious mental illness, particularly those who are Mexican American.

Understanding Latina/o College Choice: A Chain Migration Perspective

Principal Investigator: Patricia M. McDonough, Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education

This study attempts to understand how Latina and Latino students formulate their postsecondary plans and choice of college. Using the concept of chain migration within a social capital framework, this qualitative investigation seeks to recognize what role resources and networks play to facilitate this process. Interviews with first-generation college students at two- and four-year institutions will be used to determine the college-choice opportunities for Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. Results from this study will highlight areas for improvement in the college choice process, an important factor for increasing Latinos’ educational experiences and their representation in higher education. This research will be significant to high school personnel, outreach officers, policymakers, and educational researchers who are committed to improving postsecondary educational opportunities for Latinos and other minority populations.

Deconstructing Racial Perceptions: Internalized Racism and Preserving Teachers of Color

Principal Investigator: Rita Kohli, PhD candidate, UCLA Social Science and Comparative Education

Students of Color are a minority within teacher education programs, and very little literature and curricula addresses this population. Efforts to boost the number of Students of Color in teacher education programs are essential, but simply increasing their presence is not enough. It is critical that Teachers of Color understand the ways in which racism permeates our educational system and actively work to counter it. Employing a critical race theory framework and methodology, this study will investigate whether pre-service Teachers of Color in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) consciously or unconsciously adopt a worldview that validates stereotypes, places racial groups in a hierarchy, or is embedded in dominant cultural standards. Individual interviews and focus groups with twelve female students of Asian/Pacific Islander, Latina, and African descent will be used to assess cross-racial perceptions and internalized racism. The study aims to open a dialogue among researchers within different racial/ethnic communities as well as to build coalitions of teachers of African, Latina/o, and Asian/Pacific Islander descent.

Parent Expectations, Spanish-Speaking Doctor-Parent Communications, and Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing for Pediatric Upper Respiratory Infections

Principal Investigator: Roberto Emilio Montenegro, PhD candidate, UCLA Department of Sociology

Current findings suggests that compared to Asian and white children, Latino children may be at increased risk of receiving inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics (i.e., for non-bacterial infections). Accounting for this phenomenon is important because it can produce antibiotic resistant bacteria both at the individual and community level. Scholars have identified doctor-parent communication practices as a key determinant in inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions in English-speaking pediatric medical visits. None of these studies, however, has examined the communication practices involved in Spanish-speaking doctor-parent interactions, nor has any study investigated the degree to which the children of primarily Spanish-speaking parents receive inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions. The study uses surveys to measure social health determinants, conversation analysis to identify micro-level and interaction-level health determinants, focus groups to study cultural beliefs, and survey data analysis to examine and compare inappropriate antibiotic prescribing determinants by ethnicity and language. By understanding how language, communication, ethnicity, culture, and parent-physician characteristics affect the medical visits and ultimately health outcomes of Latino children, physicians can be taught culturally and linguistically sensitive approaches to resist parental pressure to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics.

What’s OK at Foshay? A Case Study Analysis of an Academically Effective High School’s Contribution to Latino Collegiate Access

Principal Investigator: Vanessa Jeanette Ochoa, PhD candidate, UCLA Graduate School of Education

Research shows that the percentage of Latinos entering and graduating from institutions of higher education is not increasing at the same rate as their percentage in the total U.S. population. In California, where Latinos comprised 32 percent of the state population in 2004, only 12 percent attended the University of California system and 22 percent attended the California State University system. This study will examine the effectiveness of one high school, Foshay Learning Center in South Central Los Angeles, which has been successfully combating these statistics. Using interviews and observations, Ochoa will observe the high school counseling unit that assists Latino students prepare for postsecondary education and assess the school’s overall environment. Ochoa will then use Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s method of portraiture to paint and frame a “picture” that will illustrate how Foshay is able to academically prepare its Latino student body for postsecondary education. The study will add to the literature on effective schools by broadening its scope to include a much needed “Latino lens.”

Que Sigan Adelante: The Educational Goals and Aspirations of Latina/o AB 540 Students in California

Principal Investigator: Lindsay Perez Huber, PhD candidate, UCLA Graduate School of Education

Little is known about the impact that Assembly Bill 540 has had on undocumented Latina/o college students in California since its passage in 2001. This study examines the educational goals and aspirations of undocumented Latina/o college students that have benefited from the legislation. Latina/o critical race theory and community cultural wealth provide the theoretical framework for the project. The study highlights the intersectionality of the multiple forms of oppression that Latina/o students encounter and the aspirational capital they utilize to navigate through institutions of higher education despite tremendous obstacles. Interviews with Latina/o students who have been affected by the legislation will document their experiences and provide a basis for analysis.

Charting the Education and Labor Trajectories of Migrant Students in California: Citizenship, Racialization, and Access to Education

Principal Investigator: Miguel Zavala, PhD candidate, UCLA Graduate School of Education

This study charts the education and labor trajectories of a select group of Mexican-descent migrant students in California. To better understand the lives of migrant students in California and how their schooling experiences are conditioned by state and economic policies, critical theories of globalization, citizenship, and state formation will be used. Because of the cultural and economic marginalization of the Mexican migrant community in California, critical race counter-storytelling methodology provides a fruitful methodological, theoretical, and political option for revealing migrant students’ experiences of racism and education. One of the immediate and pressing concerns in this research project is to begin charting an education pipeline for migrant students with the dual aim of (a) detecting the key structural barriers that the Mexican migrant community faces in its struggle for access to education, and (b) providing better information to education policy makers at the national and state levels, as well as other stakeholders who are responsible for migrant education programs in California. This study also seeks to contribute to contemporary theorizations of citizenship by providing a contextual, empirical analysis of the lives of migrant students, which will open up additional avenues for future research.