Mexican-Origin Youth’s Cultural Orientations and Adjustment: Changes From Early to Late Adolescence


  • We are grateful to the families and youth who participated in this project, and to the following schools and districts who collaborated: Osborn, Mesa, and Gilbert school districts; Willis Junior High School; Supai and Ingleside Middle Schools; St. Catherine of Sienna; St. Gregory; St. Francis Xavier; St. Mary-Basha; and St. John Bosco. We thank Ann Crouter, Mark Roosa, Nancy Gonzales, Roger Millsap, Jennifer Kennedy, Leticia Gelhard, Sarah Killoren, Melissa Delgado, Emily Cansler, Shawna Thayer, Devon Hageman, Ji-Yeon Kim, Lilly Shanahan, Sue Annie Rodriguez, Chum Bud Lam, Megan Baril, Anna Solmeyer, and Shawn Whiteman for their assistance in conducting this investigation. Funding was provided by NICHD Grants R01 HD39666 (Updegraff, PI) and R01 HD32336 (McHale & Crouter, PIs) and the Cowden Fund to the School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU.

concerning this article should be addressed to Kimberly A. Updegraff, School of Social and Family Dynamics, PO Box 873701, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287-3701. Electronic mail may be sent to


Drawing from developmental and cultural adaptation perspectives and using a longitudinal design, this study examined: (a) mean-level changes in Mexican-origin adolescents’ cultural orientations and adjustment from early to late adolescence and (b) bidirectional associations between cultural orientations and adjustment using a cross-lag panel model. Participants included 246 Mexican-origin, predominantly immigrant families that participated in home interviews and a series of nightly phone calls when target adolescents were 12 and 18 years of age. Girls exhibited more pronounced declines in traditional gender role attitudes than did boys, and all youth declined in familism values, time spent with family, and involvement in Mexican culture. Bidirectional relations between cultural orientations and adjustment emerged, and some associations were moderated by adolescent nativity and gender.