CHAPTER 8
Psychological Well-Being and Educational Achievement Among Immigrant Youth1

Grace Kao

Since enactment of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, the United States has witnessed a large influx of immigrants who a e diverse in their ethnic and social backgrounds. The 1965 act eliminated severe restrictions on Asia and Africa by placing identical numerical limits on migrants from all countries, including those of the Western Hemisphere. Unlike earlier waves of immigrants who were predominantly European, most post-1965 immigrants to the United States have come from Asia and Latin America.

The new immigrants have generated much research about their experiences, but most of the studies have focused on the socioeconomic attainment of adult migrants. As a result, researchers know little about the social-psychological costs to those who migrate. In addition, research on adult migrants is more comprehensive than that on children. Children of adult migrants may suffer more than their native peers in managing two conflicting worlds—their parents and their peers. Moreover, the increased diversity in metropolitan-area schools is largely driven by the growing numbers of Hispanic and Asian children. For instance, the Population Reference Bureau (1989) has estimated that over

1  

An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 1997.



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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance CHAPTER 8 Psychological Well-Being and Educational Achievement Among Immigrant Youth1 Grace Kao Since enactment of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, the United States has witnessed a large influx of immigrants who a e diverse in their ethnic and social backgrounds. The 1965 act eliminated severe restrictions on Asia and Africa by placing identical numerical limits on migrants from all countries, including those of the Western Hemisphere. Unlike earlier waves of immigrants who were predominantly European, most post-1965 immigrants to the United States have come from Asia and Latin America. The new immigrants have generated much research about their experiences, but most of the studies have focused on the socioeconomic attainment of adult migrants. As a result, researchers know little about the social-psychological costs to those who migrate. In addition, research on adult migrants is more comprehensive than that on children. Children of adult migrants may suffer more than their native peers in managing two conflicting worlds—their parents and their peers. Moreover, the increased diversity in metropolitan-area schools is largely driven by the growing numbers of Hispanic and Asian children. For instance, the Population Reference Bureau (1989) has estimated that over 1   An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 1997.

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance half of all students from 49 of the 100 largest school districts are black, Hispanic, or Asian. INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on immigrant and ethnic differences in social-psychological well-being and educational achievement of adolescent youth. The focus is on the following questions: How do immigrant (first-generation) children and native-born children of immigrants (second-generation children) differ from native-born (third-generation and beyond) whites of native-born parents in their psychological well-being? Second, to what extent can generational differences in psychological well-being be attributed to difficulty with English, prior educational experiences, and enrollment in specialized programs? Third, how are generational differences in psychological well-being associated with educational performance? This chapter is organized as follows. First, I review previous research that implies three social-psychological dimensions on which immigrant children may differ from native-born children. I then review racial, ethnic, and generational patterns of educational achievement and explore why there is an apparent anomaly as immigrant children may have lower self-perceptions yet still manage to do well in school, despite the well-documented link between mental health and educational performance among adolescents (Covington, 1984; March, 1986; Rosenberg, 1989; Rosenberg et al., 1989). Then I describe the data, from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) of 1988, used for the analyses. Next, descriptive and empirical analyses are explained, focusing on the relationship between immigrant status and psychological well-being, as well as the link between psychological well-being and educational performance. Psychological Stress Of Immigration On Adults And Children While historic and ethnographic research on the adaptation processes of immigrant adults clearly documents the immense stress and burden on self-esteem that accompanies settlement in a foreign locale, it is less clear whether children suffer compa-

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance rable stress. Anecdotal evidence suggests that children may adapt to American society more quickly, since they learn English faster than their adult counterparts. In addition, children may be less committed to or knowledgeable about cultural practices of their parents' country of origin; therefore, their acculturation process may be less strained. Immigrant children and children of immigrants may, however, experience additional sources of anxiety. Children of immigrant parents must maneuver through the world of their parents and that of mainstream America. Moreover, norms of parent-child relationships in middle-class America may be at odds with norms of parental authority in the country of origin (Dornbusch et al., 1987). Increased reliance on children further threatens traditional parental authority when children serve as translators, since they may be the only members of their families who speak and write English well enough to communicate with others. They are more likely than children of native-born parents to assume adult-like roles at an early age, since they become their family's only means of communicating with English-speaking society. While these experiences may extend a sense of empowerment to children in immigrant families, more likely such children may be embarrassed by their parents' inability to function in an English-speaking adult world. Moreover, they may resent their parents for subjecting them to adult responsibilities in contrast to the American notion of a childhood free of such chores. Psychological Well-Being Of Immigrant Youth Because immigrant minority youth experience greater psychological strains in their adaptation process than native-born whites, I explore the aspects of psychological well-being that are most likely to differentiate immigrant adolescents from their native-born counterparts. Since the migration experience has been documented to produce significant psychological distress, ''even among the best prepared and most motivated and even under the most receptive of circumstances" (Portes and Rumbaut, 1990:144), it is worthwhile to examine how immigrant youth and native-born youth of immigrant parents differ in psychological well-being from native-born youth of native-born parents.

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance First, youth from immigrant families may feel greater alienation among their school peers (Padilla and Durán, 1995). The extent to which recent arrivals to the United States are isolated at school can be devastating, since they are not only visibly foreign to native white youth but also to their native-born ethnic counterparts. Feelings of alienation among immigrant adolescents stem not only from visual cues such as dress but also their lack of fluency in English. In fact, recent immigrants are sometimes referred to as being "fresh off the boat" by their ethnic counterparts. Native-born ethnics may be extremely motivated to differentiate themselves (who only look nonwhite) from same ethnics (who not only look nonwhite but have "foreign" customs and beliefs) in order to make themselves seem more American. Because minority immigrant youth face additional difficulties stemming from their minority and ''foreigner" status, one might expect them to report higher rates of alienation from school peers. Moreover, they may suffer in terms of their self-esteem and feelings of self-efficacy (Padilla and Durán, 1995). Immigrant youth may have diminished feelings of self-efficacy because adapting to life in the United States can promote feelings of helplessness (Portes and Rumbaut, 1990). Refugee groups such as the Indochinese or Cubans as well as more recent arrivals may be especially vulnerable to feelings of low self-efficacy since they are more likely to attribute their circumstances to influences beyond their control. Self-efficacy is an especially vital dimension of adolescent well-being because it signals the extent to which teenagers believe they can influence their future outcomes. Youth who believe they have much control over the direction of their lives are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and are more motivated to work toward their ambitions (Bandura, 1993, 1995). Therefore, self-efficacy fosters motivation, thus promoting engagement in learning activities that lead to increased proficiency in educational skills (Bandura, 1995; Zimmerman, 1995). Hence, self-efficacy is associated with elevated aspirations and achievement. Immigrant and minority youth may also be prone to low self-esteem as they come to terms with issues of self-identification (Rumbaut, 1994). Some researchers have argued that because immigrant adolescents are more likely to encounter stressful

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance events, they may be at greater risk of low self-esteem (Padilla and Durán, 1995). For instance, Padilla and Duran concluded from their study of immigrant youth that "immigrant students have very low self-images in general and low appraisals of their intellectual, physical, or social attributes" (Padilla and Durán, 1995:139). However, while Padilla and Durán documented the source of stress in the lives of immigrant Mexican students, they did not provide comparable data for native-born whites. Thus, it is unclear whether immigrant youth suffer in their overall mental health relative to white native-born youth. Ethnic And Immigrant Patterns In Educational Achievement Researchers agree that there is a positive relationship between self-esteem and grades (and self-efficacy and grades), although the causal order between psychological well-being and grade performance is unclear (Rosenberg et al., 1995). For instance, Covington (1984) argues that the lower academic performance of some minority youth stems from their lower self-esteem. Thus, in order to improve their academic performance, school intervention programs must focus on raising the self-esteem of minority students. Other researchers (Rosenberg et al., 1989) argue that grades have a stronger effect on self-esteem than self-esteem has on grades. They posit that, while there is some reciprocal influence between performance and self-esteem, the primary causal mechanism is that performance leads to changes in self-esteem. Since I am primarily concerned with how the relationship between these characteristics may differ for immigrant youth and because the data I use are cross-sectional, I cannot evaluate the debate regarding the correct causal order between grades and psychological well-being. Despite myriad reasons to be concerned with the psychological well-being of immigrant children and the well-known association between social-psychological status and educational achievement, recent studies suggest that immigrant youth and native-born youth of immigrant parents perform well in school (Rumbaut, 1990; Caplan et al., 1991; Kao and Tienda, 1995). Since positive self-perceptions are associated with higher scholastic achievement, one may expect immigrant children to earn lower

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance grades than their native-born counterparts (Covington, 1984). However, immigrant children, on average, earn similar or higher grades than their same-race third-generation counterparts (Kao and Tienda, 1995). Despite the additional stresses experienced by immigrant children, they manage to excel at school. In fact, much of the literature on Asian American youth focuses on their educational successes (Sue and Okazaki, 1990; Kao, 1995). Many recent studies of the schooling experiences of immigrant children comment on the propensity of teachers to prefer recent immigrants to their more "Americanized" counterparts because they are often more responsive to the authority of teachers (Rumbaut, 1995). However, there is no concrete evidence that teachers favor immigrant youth in their evaluation of students' schoolwork. DATA AND DEFINITION OF VARIABLES To explore our research questions, I used the 1988 NELS. This national survey utilized a two-stage probability sampling design that first selected a nationally representative sample of 1,052 schools, from which 24,599 eighth graders were surveyed. The study then followed them at two-year intervals through 1994, when most of the sample members were about 20 years old. It is unique not only because it began before the transition to high school, thus capturing a psychologically tumultuous period, but also because it oversampled Hispanics and Asians. In addition, NELS also surveyed school administrators, parents, and teachers (National Center for Education Statistics, 1990). Because NELS oversampled Hispanics and Asians and because it interviewed parents and students, immigrant differences in psychological well-being and educational achievement can be examined. Because the base-year survey included more recent immigrants and larger samples of minority students, for these analyses I relied solely on the 1988 base-year survey. DESCRIPTIVE TABULATIONS Overall, immigrant Asian, Hispanic, and black youth tend to have lower psychological well-being scores. Figure 8-1 presents race and generational differences in locus of control or feelings of

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance FIGURE 8-1 Locus of control by race and generational status. The baseline is the score of white third-generation youth (native-born children of native-born parents). self-efficacy in graphic form. (These are the same numbers that appear in Table 8-1 under "Locus of control"). Locus of control was constructed by NCES from a battery of six questions. The average scores of all nonmissing items were taken and then standardized such that the mean score is zero and the standard deviation is one. Simply put, the higher the score, the more a youth feels in control of his or her life (for more detailed information about how these variables were constructed, see Table 8-2). The floor or baseline of this graph (as well as subsequent figures) is set at the level of white native-born youth of native-born parents. This group (white native-born youth of native-born parents) is the logical comparison group because they are the majority both in terms of race and immigrant status. The colors of the bar correspond with their immigrant status, such that light gray columns correspond to immigrant youth, dark gray bars represent native-born youth with one immigrant parent, and white columns depict native-born youth with native-born parents. Immigrant youth who are Asian, Hispanic, or black all suffer from a de-

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance pressed sense of control over their lives. In addition, Hispanic youth of any generational status feel less self-efficacy than native-born whites with native-born parents. The graph clearly shows the influence of minority status on self-efficacy for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians; in addition, immigrant minority youth clearly suffer in their feelings of control over their lives compared to native-born whites with native-born parents. The patterns in this figure are consistent with findings on adult immigrants; immigrant status coupled with minority status negatively influences feelings of self-efficacy. I also examined racial and generational differences in self-concept (or self-esteem). Overall, I did not find a consistent pattern among the racial/generational groups in self-esteem, except that black youth tend to have extremely positive self-conceptions.2 Numerous researchers have found this apparent anomaly and explain it by stressing the importance of family and friends in determining the self-esteem of black youth and the relative lack of influence of others' views of them. For instance, Hughes and Demo (1989) argue that blacks' belief that racial discrimination limits their socioeconomic opportunities becomes reflected in their relatively low self-efficacy but not their self-esteem. Self-esteem is determined primarily by significant others such as friends and family rather than the society (or school) at large, while self-efficacy has more to do with feelings of control over one's life chances. Next, I examined the extent to which immigrant minority youth feel alienated from their school peers (see Figure 8-2). To do this, I constructed a measure of alienation or "being unpopular," using an item that asked students to evaluate whether their peers see them as "very popular," "somewhat popular," or "not at all popular." Those who answered ''not at all popular" received a score of one for being unpopular and zero otherwise. Thus, groups with higher scores feel more alienated or think that they do not fit in with their school peers. To a great extent this mea- 2    Due to space limitations, I have not included these patterns in graphic form; see Table 8-1 for tabulations.

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance TABLE 8-1 Descriptive Characteristics of Eighth-and Tenth-Grade Youth by Race and Generational Status   Asians   Immigrant Generation Native-Born of Foreign-Born Parents Native-Born of Native-Born Parents Psychological Well-Being—Grade 8       Locus of control -0.117*** 0.062 -0.063**   (0.605) (0.583) (0.656) Self-concept -0.029 0. 080** -0.135*   (0.643) (0.664) (0.622) Unpopular 0.248*** 0.186 0.184   (0.432) (0.389) (0.388) Middle school GPA 3.323*** 3.357*** 2.905   (0.652) (0.679) (0.832) Math test scores 54.626*** 58.409*** 51.850   (9.857) (9.986) (11.267) Reading test scores 50.856*** 56.034*** 49.936**   (9.616) (9.310) (10.108) Proportion female 0.499 0.481 0.487   (0500) (0.500) (0.501) Parent's education 14.651 16.199*** 14.995*   (2.705) (2.841) (2.409) Family income 3.815*** 6.415*** 5.150 (in $10,000) (3.816) (4.967) (4.010) Home Language Use       Non-English language only 0.150*** 0.126 *** 0.021*   (0.357) (0.333) (0.144)

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Hispanics Whites   Immigrant Generation Native-Born of Foreign-Born Parents Native-Born of Native-Born Parents Native-Born of Native-Born Parents Psychological Well-Being—Grade 8         Locus of control -0.202*** -0.105*** -0.102*** 0.056   (0.628) (0.641) (0.648) (0.605) Self-concept -0.066 -0.058 -0.009 -0.016   (0.638) (0.668) (0.660) (0.662) Unpopular 0.252*** 0.231*** 0.163 0.170   (0.435) (0.421) (0.370) (0.376) Middle school GPA 2.759'** 2.779*** 2.757*** 2.959   (0.738) (0.718) (0.735) 0.751) Math test scores 45.882*** 46.676*** 46.282*** 52.547   (9.100) (8.758) (8.990) (9.837) Reading test scores 45.065*** 46.722*** 47.399*** 52.355   (9.187) (9.154) (9.322) (9.717) Proportion female 0.504 0.536* 0.511 0.498   (0.501) (0.499) (0.500) (0.500) Parent's education 12.049*** 12.595*** 13.280*** 14.546   (2.630) (2.623) (2.166) (2.433) Family income (in $10,000) 2.240*** 2.779*** 2.857*** 4.648   (2.522) (2.890) (2.275) (3.900) Home Language Use         Non-English language only 0.238*** 0.180*** 0.101*** 0.007   (0.426) (0.384) (0.301) (0.085)

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Asians   Immigrant Generation Native-Born of Foreign-Born Parents Native-Born of Native-Born Parents Mostly non-English language 0.530*** 0.323*** 0.058***   (0.500) (0.468) (0.234) Mostly English 0.216*** 0.420*** 0.105***   (0.412) (0.494) (0.307) English only 0.104*** 0.131*** 0.817***   (0.306) 0.338) (0.388) Ever repeated a grade 0.126 0.049*** 0.132   (0.332) (0.217) (0.340) Ever skipped a grade 0.108*** 0.043*** 0.021   (0.311) (0.203) (0.144) Currently enrolled in a bilingual program 0.109*** 0.033 0.079**   (0.312) (0.180) (0.270) Currently enrolled in gifted classes 0.322*** 0.377*** 0.302***   (0.468) (0.485) (0.460) N 659 440 187

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance while they earn higher reading scores after including controls for SES and individual school experiences than their counterparts with native-born parents. Among blacks, youth with immigrant parents earn comparable grades while American blacks earn lower grades and lower math and reading test scores than white native-born youth. The general pattern of higher academic performance among immigrant youth is apparent across all groups, although it is most stunning among blacks and Asians. It is clear that among blacks acculturation is linked to lower academic performance and test scores across each of the models. Furthermore, these results suggest that psychological well-being and academic outcomes are positively associated. Note that locus of control is strongly associated with all three measures of school achievement, yet immigrant youth suffer from feelings of low self-efficacy. These results support Bandura's (1995) thesis that feelings of greater self-efficacy foster motivation and development of learning skills, although I cannot establish the causal order in these models. It is still unclear, however, how immigrant youth manage to succeed in school compared to their native-born counterparts (both same ethnics and whites) despite feelings of low self-efficacy. Youth from immigrant households may also be disadvantaged in their achievement test scores since households that mostly use a non-English language have youth with lower math and reading test scores. Another facet of the experience of immigrant youth is their higher enrollment rates in bilingual programs in eighth grade, which is associated with lower grades and lower math and reading test scores. No doubt, immigrant youth are overrepresented in bilingual programs, yet some still manage to earn remarkably high scores, especially compared to their minority counterparts from native-born families. Having ever repeated a grade is associated with lower grades and lower achievement test scores, while the experience of having ever skipped a grade is linked to higher grades and math test scores. To examine whether these stunning generational differences among Asians can be attributed to differences in the ethnic composition of racial groups, Table 8-7 examines the influence of ethnicity and generational status. Overall, the degeneration of

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance TABLE 8-7 Influence of Ethnicity and Immigrant Status on Academic Achievement: Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, and Other Hispanic Students   Grades   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Constant 2.880*** 1.685*** 2.170***   (0.008) (0.037) (0.036) Chinese immigrant 0.407*** 0.443*** 0.439***   (0.065) (0.064) (0.066) Chinese native of foreign-born 0.501*** 0.359*** 0.244***   (0.072) (0.070) (0.066) Chinese native of native-born 0.043 -0.031 -0.119   (0.146) (0.142) (0.140) Filipino immigrant 0.259*** 0.188** 0.221**   (0.073) (0.069) (0.068) Filipino native of foreign-born 0.312*** 0.180** 0.125   (0.070) (0.067) (0.064) Filipino native of native-born 0.060 0.114 0.086   (0.192) (0.183) (0.180) Mexican immigrant -0.241*** 0.066 0.085   (0.051) (0.052) (0.058) Mexican native of foreign-born -0.196*** 0.029 0.026   (0.032) (0.031) (0.036) Mexican native of native-born -0.209*** -0.080** -0.060*   (0.028) (0.027) (0.029) Other Hispanic immigrant -0.095 -0.003 -0.005   (0.068) (0.066) (0.069) Other Hispanic native of foreign-born -0.152** -0.119* -0.131*   (0.054) (0.053) (0.053) Other Hispanic native of native-born -0.153** -0.125** -0.109*   (0.049) (0.048) (0.047) Female 0.139*** 0.149*** 0.147***   (0.011) (0.011) (0.011)

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Math Test Scores   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Constant 52.609*** 31.964*** 37.638***   (0.112) (0.467) (0.471) Chinese immigrant 4.510*** 5.590*** 6.651***   (0.857) (0.798) (0.860) Chinese native of foreign-born 9.055*** 6.509*** 5.809***   (0.952) (0.875) (0.854) Chinese native of native-born 0.788 -0.334 0.329   (1.916) (1.769) (1.798) Filipino immigrant -1.595 -2.642** -1.471   (0.975) (0.883) (0.901) Filipino native of foreign-born 3.886*** 1.534 1.925*   (0.918) (0.836) (0.826) Filipino native of native-born 1.362 2.333 0.829   (2.441) (2.210) (2.229) Mexican immigrant -6.887*** -1.588* 0.394   (0.692) (0.657) (0.758) Mexican native of foreign-born -6.621*** -2.601*** -1.510**   (0.423) (0.399) (0.472) Mexican native of native-born -5.891*** -3.538*** -2.796***   (0.368) (0.343) (0.378) Other Hispanic immigrant -5.323*** -3.474*** -0.992   (0.906) (0.832) (0.899) Other Hispanic native of foreign-born -3.754*** -3.030*** -1.794**   (0.707) (0.660) (0.689) Other Hispanic native of native-born -5.590*** -4.827*** -4.323***   (0.642) (0.601) (0.610) Female -0.639*** -0.448** -1.005***   (0.151) (0.141) (0.141)

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Grades   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Parent's education   0.079*** 0.048***     (0.003) (0.003) Family income (in $10,000)   0.012*** 0.005**     (0.002) (0.002) Psychological Well-Being       Locus of control     0.254***       (0.011) Self-concept     0.105***       (0.010) Unpopular     -0.055***       (0.014) Home Language Use       Non-English only     0.038       (0.036) Mostly non-English     0.010       (0.031) Mostly English     0.021       (0.023) School Experiences       Ever repeated a grade     -0.397***       (0.015) Ever skipped a grade     0.089*       (0.042) Currently enrolled in a bilingual program     -0.186***       (0.029) Currently enrolled in a gifted program     0.398***       (0.014) Adjusted R2 0.022 0.105 0.282

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Math Test Score   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Parent's education   1.318*** 0.971***     (0.034) (0.034) Family income (in $10,000)   0.341*** 0.261***     (0.022) (0.021) Psychological Well-Being       Locus of control     2.531***       (0.139) Self-concept     -0.050       (0.129) Unpopular     0.500**       (0.183) Home Language Use       Non-English only     -1.211**       (0.470) Mostly non-English     -1.769***       (0.400) Mostly English     -0.098       (0.297) School Experiences       Ever repeated a grade     -4.847***       (0.199) Ever skipped a grade     1.224*       (0.535) Currently enrolled in a bilingual program     -4.361***       (0.373) Currently enrolled in a gifted program     5,680***       (0.180) Adjusted R2 0.049 0.212 0.333

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Reading Test Scores   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Constant 51.197*** 32.356*** 38.000***   (0.110) (0.473) (0.480) Chinese immigrant -2.596** -1.939* 0.200   (0.847) (0.808) (0.876) Chinese native of foreign-born 6.171 s*** 3.988*** 3.777***   (0.941) (0.886) (0.870) Chinese native of native-born -2.286 -2.985 -3.212   (1.895) (1.791) (1.832) Filipino immigrant -2.808** -3.902*** -2.390**   (0.955) (0.886) (0.909) Filipino native of foreign-born 2.764** 0.647 0.933   (0.908) (0.846) (0.842) Filipino native of native-born 3.273 4.059 1.722   (2.494) (2.311) (2.271) Mexican immigrant -8.689*** -4.084*** -1.906* (0.681) (0.662) (0.769)   Mexican native of foreign-born -6.412*** -2.922*** -1.791***   (0.417) (0.403) (0.480) Mexican native of native-born -4.448*** -2.462*** -1.617***   (0.364) (0.347) (0.385) Other Hispanic immigrant -4.406*** -2.921*** 0.035   (0.892) (0.839) (0.916) Other Hispanic native of foreign-born -3.562*** -2.781*** -1.507*   (0.698) (0.666) (0.700) Other Hispanic native of native-born -4.545*** -4.083*** -3.089***   (0.634) (0.607) (0.620) Female 1.772*** 1.997*** 1.512***   (0.150) (0.143) (0.143)

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance   Reading Test Scores   Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Parent's education   1.234*** 0.904***     (0.035) (0.035) Family income (in $10,000)   0.213*** 0.132***     (0.023) (0.022) Psychological Well-Being       Locus of control     3.050***       (0.142) Self-concept     -0.071       (0.132) Unpopular     0.293       (0.187) Home Language Use       Non-English only     -1.208*       (0.478) Mostly non-English     -1.727***       (0.407) Mostly English     0.203       (0.303) School Experiences       Ever repeated a grade     -4.333***       (0.202) Ever skipped a grade     1.023       (0.545) Currently enrolled in a bilingual program     -6.324***       (0.379) Currently enrolled in a gifted program     4.032***       (0.183) Adjusted R2 0.045 0.172 0.280 ***p < .001; **p < .01; *p < .05. SOURCE: National Education Longitudinal Study, 1988: Base Year.

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance academic performance is clear for all ethnic groups. Native-born Chinese youth of native-born parents, for instance, earn lower grades and lower math and reading test scores than their immigrant counterparts in most models and than native-born Chinese of immigrant (second-generation) parents in all models. Among Filipinos, children of immigrant parents tend to earn higher grades than their counterparts with native-born parents. However, only native-born children of immigrant parents earn higher math and reading scores than their native-born counterparts with native-born parents, and this difference is rendered statistically insignificant after adding measures of socioeconomic background. Thus, the immigrant advantage is less prevalent among Filipino youth. While the patterns for Mexicans are less consistent, Mexican youth of immigrant parents earn higher grades and higher math scores than youth with native-born parents. Native-born Mexicans of native-born parents earn the highest reading scores after inclusion of SES measures. CONCLUSION Overall, the difficulty of being a minority as well as an immigrant has profound detrimental effects on one's psychological well-being. Immigrant youth face rejection from both native-born whites and native-born members of their same ethnic groups, which makes them feel more alienated at school than their native-born counterparts. Moreover, immigrant minority status lowers perceptions of control over the direction of one's life. Nevertheless, immigrant minority children do extremely well in school. Indeed, minority immigrant youth exhibit signs of strong resilience. Despite the difficulty of transition to life in the United States, as evidenced in their lower sense of control over their lives and feeling ''unpopular" at school, they manage to have better school outcomes than their minority counterparts from native-born families. Indeed, through their high academic outcomes, immigrant minority students not only add to the diversity of students in American schools but are a positive influence on their peers.

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Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance It is clear that immigrant parents promote the educational success of their children (Kao and Tienda, 1995). Immigrant families are especially optimistic about their children's odds of upward mobility and are very resilient to the difficulties of their immigrant status. However, if we are to take the current course of native-born minorities of native-born parents to be the future course of the offspring of children of immigrants, the United States must reflect on what it is about assimilation that lowers the educational trajectory of minority students. As Portes (1995) has argued, we must consider that for today's children of immigrant families assimilation may imply the process of becoming members of marginalized ethnic minority groups. REFERENCES Alexander, K., D. Entwisle, and S. Dauber 1994 On the Success of Failure: A Reassessment of the Effects of Retention in the Primary Grades. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bandura, A. 1993 Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist 28:117-148. 1995 Exercise of personal and collective efficacy in changing societies. In Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies, A. Bandura, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press. Caplan, N., M.H. Choy, and J.K. Witmore 1991 Children of the Boat People: A Study of Educational Success. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Covington, M. 1984 The motive for self-worth. In Research on Motivation in Education, vol. 1, Student Motivation, R. Ames and C. Ames, eds. New York: Academic Press. Dornbusch, S.M., E.L. Ritter, P.H. Leiderman, D.F Roberts, and M.J. Fraleigh 1987 The relation of parenting style to adolescent school performance. Child Development 58:1244-1257. Hughes, M., and D.H. Demo 1989 Self-perceptions of black-Americans: Self-esteem and personal efficacy. American Journal of Sociology 95:132-159. Kao, G. 1995 Asian-Americans as model minorities? A look at their academic performance. American Journal of Education 103:121-159. Kao, G., and M. Tienda 1995 Optimism and achievement: The educational performance of immigrant youth. Social Science Quarterly 76:1-19.

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