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An Investigation Of The Self-Reported Problems Of Mexican, Mexican-American And Anglo-American Adolescents

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This study utilized a cross-cultural comparative approach to investigate: (1) whether differences existed in problems reported by three groups of students of both sexes, Mexican, Mexican-American, and Anglo-American; and (2) the extent to which these differences were influenced by ethnicity, sex, or socioeconomic status, or the interaction among those variables. The STS Youth Inventory--Form G and a Personal Data Sheet were administered in the Spring of 1979 to 710 students from five high schools in Northern California. The sample which was statistically analyzed for the purposes of this investigation was comprised of 530 students. Of these 74 were Mexicans, 179 were Mexican-Americans, and 277 were Anglo-Americans. The data obtained were subjected to analyses of variance, chi-square statistics, and Scheffe tests. The influence of socioeconomic status was not assessed for the Mexican sample due to the fact that the sample of 530 students produced some empty cell frequencies for that group. Some of the important findings of the study were: (1) Mexican students reported significantly greater concern than Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans in problems related to My School, After High School, About Myself, Getting Along with Others, Things in General and the Total Score of the STS Youth Inventory. (2) Mexican-Americans reported significantly greater concern than Anglo-Americans in problems related to After High School, My School, Things in General, and Total Score. (3) Girls reported significantly greater concern than boys in problems related to My School, About Myself, Getting Along with Others, Things in General and Total Score. (4) Significant interaction effects between the variables of ethnicity and sex were found in the following measures: My School, Getting Along with Others and Total Score. In all three instances, the sex differences appeared to be a function of the differences between the Mexican genders. (5) A significant interaction effect between socioeconomic status and sex was obtained for only one variable: After High School. Class III, Class IV, and Class V girls reported significantly greater concern than Class I-II girls in problems related to After High School. (6) No significant interaction effects were found between the variables of ethnicity and socioeconomic status when comparing Mexican-American and Anglo-American students. Of particular significance for its theoretical contribution to the psychology of personality were the measures comparing Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans which yielded statistical differences, cross-culturally, regardless of social class. The findings highlighted the Mexican-Americans as a unique and particular group which could be described as a culturally definable entity. They augmented the fund of empirical research which has supported the view of a distinct Mexican psychology and a distinct Mexican-American psychology. Recommendations for further research included: (1) replications of the study with (a) both younger and older populations, (b) other minority ethnic groups, and (c) Mexicans from different socioeconomic groups; (2) investigation of the relationship between perceived problems and actual school behavior in the three ethnic groups studied; (3) long-term experimental studies to assess the effects of school response to differences in problem perception among Mexican, Mexican-American, and Anglo-American students.

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