Non-parental adults in the lives of Mexican-American and Anglo-American adolescents: a comparative study

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Title: Non-parental adults in the lives of Mexican-American and Anglo-American adolescents: a comparative study
Author: DeSecottier, Leon Renault
Abstract: This study examined individuals who were named as important in the lives of adolescents . As a broad scope , the functions of these relationships were examined to determine the degree of functionality of the mother , father , peer and a non -parental adult have in the roles of challenger , counselor , teacher , social facilitator , moral guide , companion , behavioral model and supporter . This further study identified these important non -parental adults in order to determine how these relationships differed from , or are similar to young adolescents' relationships with their mother , father , and best friends . Finally , the study examined characteristics associated with having high or low quality relationships with a potential mentor . The focus of this study , throughout , was to compare the relationships that were maintained in the lives of young adolescent Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans and to describe differences or similarities noted . The target population for this study was young adolescents (ages 12 -15 ) . The sample consisted of 356 (290 Mexican American and 66 Anglo American ) adolescents attending 2 junior high schools in a culturally diverse southwest community consisting of 40 % Mexican Americans . A questionnaire was distributed during class asking students to rate their mothers , fathers , best friends , and non -parental adults on items representing mentoring functions . Additionally , Harter's (1988 ) perceived competence scale , Cegala's (1981 ) Communication Competence Scale and the short form of the Nowicki -Strickland (1973 ) locus of control scale for children was used to assess the adolescents' characteristics of communication competence and internal or external locus of control . MANOVA , ANOVA , and multiple regression were used for statistical analysis . A majority of the participants named an important non -parental adult . Mexican American adolescents named significantly more relatives as important non -parental adults . Overall , females listed friends as possessing higher mentor qualities than males and males rated fathers higher than females . By ethnicity , Anglos rated fathers higher than Mexican Americans and Mexican Americans rated non -parental adults higher than Anglos . Mothers ranked highest on mentor quality across all groups . Children's characteristics of perceptiveness and responsiveness were the only individual characteristics found to significantly correlate with possessing a high functioning mentor . Mentor research has been the focus of many recent programs aimed at buffering the negative effects of environmental and social issues such as low socio -economic status , poverty , low educational levels , high school dropout rates , etc . However , previous research has focused on constructing relationships particularly for high risk and gifted students . Until now , little has been examined in the area of naturally occurring relationships which have the potential to impact the lives of adolescents as mentors .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /17802
Date: 1998-08


Non-parental adults in the lives of Mexican-American and Anglo-American adolescents: a comparative study. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /17802 .

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