The relationship between linguistic acculturation and delinquency amongst second generation immigrant youths


Schuster, Ryan Michael Itzcovich (2015). The relationship between linguistic acculturation and delinquency amongst second generation immigrant youths.


This study measured the linguistic acculturation of second-generation youths, to determine whether linguistic acculturation correlated with delinquency. The first hypothesis was that individuals who spoke the foreign language of their immigrant parents at home would be less likely to engage in delinquent behavior during adolescence and into young adulthood. The second hypothesis was that an assimilated cultural inclination, evidenced by a preference for the host cultures language amongst friends and family, would be a risk factor for delinquency amongst older adolescents and young adults. This study used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), the aim of which was to research the biopsychosocial health of American 7-12th grade adolescents and continue following these participants into adulthood. After separating those who met criteria from the larger dataset, 575 participants were left (288 females; 287 males), with 359 participants (62.4%) of Latino descent and 216 (37.6%) of Asian descent. A generalized linear mixed model procedure was used to examine the correlation between language variables and delinquency, while accounting for control variables. The results of the first analysis did not suggest a significant relationship between the language spoken in the home environment and delinquency, across the two waves, b = -0.06, t = -1.70, p = 0.09. The results of the second analysis did not demonstrate a significant relationship between the language spoken with family members and friends and delinquency, b = -0.04, t = -0.67, p = 0.51. These findings demonstrated that within this population of second-generation immigrant adolescents and young adults, the language they spoke with their family and friends had no significant correlation with delinquent behavior. It is likely that linguistic acculturation plays some role in level of psychosocial adjustment, however it may not be significant enough on its own to act as a protective factor against delinquency.



Language, literature and linguistics Psychology Acculturation Acculturative dissonance Adolescent Delinquency Immigration Longitudinal Linguistics Cognitive psychology 0290:Linguistics 0633:Cognitive psychology


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest Dissertations Publishing 2015 Last updated - 2015-09-11 First page - n/a

Reference Type


Book Title



Schuster, Ryan Michael Itzcovich

Series Author(s)

Taube, Daniel O.

Year Published


Volume Number





Alliant International University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID