Biculturalism and perceived competence of latino immigrant adolescents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


The present study investigated acculturation to the Hispanic and American cultures and self-perceptions of competence among 123 Latino immigrant adolescents. The study tested a contextual model of biculturalism by examining whether different acculturation styles predicted perceived competence in life spheres with different cultural demands. Perceived competence was assessed using Harter's (1988) Self-Perceptions of Competence Profile for Adolescents for the life spheres of school, peers (both Latino and non-Latino), and global self-worth. In addition, an analogous scale to assess perceptions of competence in the family was constructed for that sphere. The study found some support for a contextual model of acculturation. Acculturation to American culture predicted positive self-perceptions of competence with American peers, while acculturation to Hispanic culture predicted positive self-perceptions of competence with Latino peers. Perceived family competence, however, was predicted by acculturation to American rather than Hispanic culture. Results with respect to biculturalism are tentative, with a trend relating biculturalism to positive self-perceptions of global self-worth. However, because many of the conditions stipulated by the model were not met, results with respect to biculturalism raise questions about current approaches to operationalizing the construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-354
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Adjustment
  • Adolescents
  • Biculturalism
  • Hispanics
  • Immigrants
  • Latinos
  • Self-competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Biculturalism and perceived competence of latino immigrant adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this