Unraveling the immigrant paradox: Academic engagement and disengagement among recently arrived immigrant youth

  • Suárez-Orozco C
  • Rhodes J
  • Milburn M
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Many studies have pointed to a troubling phenomenon known as the " immigrant paradox. " Despite an initial advantage length of residence in the United States appears to be associated with declining academic achievement and aspirations. To date, this line of research has taken a largely cross-sectional approach, com-paring first, second, and third generations. The Longitudinal Immigrant Student Adaptation Study (LISA) combines longitudinal, interdisciplinary, and compara-tive approaches to document the patterns of adaptation of 408 recently arrived immigrant origin youth from Central America, China, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Mexico over the course of five years. Here, we present data that dem-onstrate patterns of academic engagement and achievement of these youths over time, as well as a structural equations model (SEM) that sheds light on the fac-tors contributing to these patterns. These data suggest that supportive relation-ships significantly mediate the academic engagement and outcomes of immigrant youth. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Academic engagement
  • Achievement
  • Immigrant youth
  • Supportive relationships

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