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Using visual voices to explore the relationship between anti-immigration political sentiment on Latino youth identity development

Portillo, Brenda J. (2018) Using visual voices to explore the relationship between anti-immigration political sentiment on Latino youth identity development. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Recently, immigration reform has been one of the biggest issues discussed amongst political candidates. Debates about immigration have been conflicting. On one hand, American’s value and understand the U.S. to be a nation of immigrants. At the same time, discussions about immigration are hostile and fearful of immigrants. This raises questions about how youth experience issues and debates around immigration. Purpose: In this study researchers sought to understand this experience by exploring the impact of perceived anti- immigration political sentiment on Latino youth identity development. Public Health Significance: The largest minority group in the United States is the Latino population. This means a rapid growth of Latino youth in schools and communities. It is likely that health providers across different sectors will encounter Latino youth and their family. While major depression and anxiety disorders are two of the most prevalent mental health conditions affecting Latino youth, little research has been done on anti- immigration rhetoric as it relates to youth and mental health. Since adolescent identity development is based on adolescents perceived perceptions of themselves from peers, family, and society, it is important to explore their experiences in today’s political climate. Methods: Through this project 30 youth community member participants, shared their respective expertise with the researchers to better understand their experiences in an emerging Latino community. Visual voices, a creative arts project and participatory research tool, was the basis of data collected by the researchers. Painted art work and transcribed audio recorded narrative of the art pieces provided qualitative data that led this research. Results: The results in this study showed Latino youth thought a great deal about their identity in relation to their interactions with family, friends, neighborhoods, and society. Furthermore, the results indicate that many of the youth participants felt anger, fear, stress and anxiety about the current social and political environment. Although several youths presented emotional stress about anti- immigration political sentiment, youth participants showed interest in wanting to become civically engaged in their communities to create positive change. Additionally, findings also show Latino youth identified positively to their ethnic identity despite anti- immigration political sentiment and felt particularly proud of the groups unique foods, cultural traditions, and language. The results of this study are discussed using the social ecological model framework and social identity theory.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Portillo, Brenda J.bporti12@gmail.combjp76
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorAlbert, Steven
Committee MemberBooth,
Committee MemberMiller,
Committee MemberYonas,
Date: 25 April 2018
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 25 April 2018
Approval Date: 28 June 2018
Submission Date: 5 April 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 79
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: participatory research, visual voices, ethnic identity, Latino youth, emerging communities
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2018 19:45
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2018 19:45


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