This research was conducted while Jose Maciel, PhD, MBA was a doctoral student in the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences at Loma Linda University. Dr. Maciel is now in the Department of Student Services, Western Governors University; Carmen Knudson-Martin, PhD, is a professor of Marital and Family Therapy in the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences at Loma Linda University.
Don't End Up in the Fields: Identity Construction among Mexican Adolescent Immigrants, their Parents, and Sociocontextual Processes
Article first published online: 21 OCT 2013
© 2013 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
How to Cite
Maciel, J. A. and Knudson-Martin, C. (2013), Don't End Up in the Fields: Identity Construction among Mexican Adolescent Immigrants, their Parents, and Sociocontextual Processes. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12044
- Article first published online: 21 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 MAY 2013
This grounded theory study of 16 Mexican immigrant adolescents and 20 of their parents examines how they construct relational identities within their families, at school, with friends, and in the larger society. Results focus on a core identity bind faced by the adolescents: immigration messages from parents that say, “don't be like me” and the societal message, “you're not like us.” Response to this bind was guided by two contrasting sets of identity narratives: Empowering narratives invited an intentional approach to school and life choices. Restricting narratives maintained an ambivalent approach to school and life choices. Resolution of the identity bind was a collective, ongoing process that has implications for Mexican immigrant families and the professionals who work with them.