Latino Adolescents’ Loneliness, Academic Performance, and the Buffering Nature of Friendships
- 865 Downloads
This longitudinal study examined Latino adolescents’ feelings of loneliness and the repercussions of loneliness for later educational success. Participants were 640 Latino students (56% girls, 62% Mexican/Mexican–American) who reported on loneliness across the first 2 years of high school. Growth mixture modeling identified three distinct loneliness trajectory classes for the Latino adolescents—consistently low, chronically high, and low but increasing. Language brokering, language use, and school mobility emerged as predictors of class membership. Increasingly and chronically lonely youth experienced academic difficulty, both in terms of academic progress and exit exam success, but support from friends served as a buffer of the negative relationship between loneliness and academic success. This study highlights the pernicious effects of loneliness and suggests promoting prosocial friendship support as a means of facilitating more positive academic outcomes for Latino youth.
KeywordsLatino Loneliness Academic achievement Friendship Adolescents
This research was supported by grants from the Spencer Foundation, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; F32 HD056732) awarded to the author and an NICHD grant awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin (R24 HD042849).
- Arbuckle, J. L. (1996). Full information estimation in the presence of incomplete data. In G. A. Marcoulides & R. E. Schumacker (Eds.), Advanced structural equation modeling: issues and techniques (pp. 243–277). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Enders, C. K. (2001). The performance of the full information maximum likelihood estimator in multiple regression models with missing data. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61, 713–740.Google Scholar
- Enders, C. K., & Tofighi, D. (2008). The impact of misspecifying class-specific residual variances in growth mixture models. Structural Equation Modeling: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 75–95.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
- Fontaine, R. G., Yang, C., Burks, V. S., Dodge, K. A., Price, J. M., Pettit, G. S., et al. (2009). Loneliness as a partial mediator of the relation between low social preference in childhood and anxious/depressed symptoms in adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 479–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, B. O. (2004). Latent variable analysis: Growth mixture modeling and related techniques for longitudinal data. In D. Kaplan (Ed.), Handbook of quantitative methodology for the social sciences (pp. 345–368). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2006). Mplus user’s guide (4th Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Nangle, D. W., Erdley, C. A., Newman, J. E., Mason, C. A., & Carpenter, E. M. (2003). Popularity, friendship quantity, and friendship quality: Interactive influences on children’s loneliness and depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32, 546–555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nylund, K. L., Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. O. (2007). Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: A Monte Carlo simulation study. Structural Equation Modeling, 14, 535–569.Google Scholar
- Storch, E. A., Brassard, M. R., & Masia-Warner, C. L. (2003). The relationship of peer victimization to social anxiety and loneliness in adolescence. Child Study Journal, 33, 1–18.Google Scholar
- US Department of Commerce. (1996–2006). Census bureau, current population survey, selected years, October 1996 to 2006. Accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/nativetrends/tables/table_6_1b.asp on December 4, 2008.
- US Department of Commerce. (2006). Census bureau, American community survey. Accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/nativetrends/tables/table_3_4a.asp on December 4, 2008.
- Valdés, G. (2003). Expanding definitions of giftedness: The case of young interpreters from immigrant countries. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Witkow, M. R. (2006). Perceived social norms for schoolwork and achievement during adolescence. Eastern Michigan University.Google Scholar