Dr. Andrea Romero Research Lab
Youth and Communities in Action for Health and Education Research Lab
Current Research Projects
1. La Zona de Promesa
Latino students are the fastest growing demographic among United States k-12 and university educational systems. Latino students and their parents have high education aspirations; however, there remains a persistent educational achievement gap for Latinos, particularly immigrants and those living in poverty.In this book, we discuss our research with Mexican descent students, families, teachers, community agencies and city leaders. Over a three year period, over 788 children, youth, parents, and community leaders participated in interviews, focus groups, surveys, and mapping projects about the education achievement gap.In addition, over 1,907 individuals participated in community-led initiatives and campaigns to create a continuum model of college-going efforts from cradle to college. We worked with the local public school district and the educational pipeline for a small city that included two public elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Over 25 local non-profit agencies and the local 4-year university participated as equal partners in the investigation and coalition building for college-going initiatives.We present new and unpublished research and results that tap into the realities of Mexican descent students living in poverty, with a particular focus on the immigration context of families.We are currently writing a book based on this research. We continue to run projects on this topic.
2. Sociopolitical Development
Many empirical studies have found that civic engagement is associated with positive development and transition to adulthood (Galston, 2001); studies with Latino youth indicate that activism, critical ethnic consciousness (CEC) and social justice are essential to their civic engagement (Cabrera, et al., 2013; Cronin et al., 2012; Gutierrez & Ortega, 1991; Junn & Masuoka, 2008; De Baca, et al., under review; O’Leary et al., 2012; O’Leary & Romero, 2011; Romero & O’Leary, 2012). Watts and colleagues (2007) argue in the Theory of Sociopolitical Development that marginalized individuals may not feel as empowered by traditional civic behaviors because political institutions usually replicate existing power structures of privilege. As such, a social justice worldview is central to sociopolitical engagement which includes not only political work, but also activism and community aid. Educational opportunity structures are essential to help youth translate social justice ideas into action. Our recent work demonstrates that programs that promote critical thinking and develop awareness about systems of oppression and privilege contribute to well-being (Cabrera, et al., 2013; O’Leary & Romero, 2011). The specific aim of our study is to (1) investigate how social justice worldview develops (2) understand how social justice worldview and ethnic identity development may be associated (3) examine how social justice and ethnic identity development are associated with mental well-being (depressive symptoms, hope, optimism, resilience). Our study objective is to (1) conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with adults (N=40) to develop new survey measures of social justice.
3. Bicultural Stress
Given over 40 years of disproportionately higher rates of depressive symptoms among Latina/o youth compared to Whites and African Americans, there is a continued need to understand how cultural factors influence mental health risk and resilience (Duarté-Vélez & Bernal, 2008; Romero, Edwards, Baumann, Ritter, 2013; Zayas, 2011). A significant amount of research has consistently found that Latina/o mental health risk factors include acculturative stress, which is stress due to adapting to the majority culture that often includes discrimination (Jamieson & Romer, 2008; Peña, Wyman, Brown, Matthieu, Olivares, Hartel, & Zayas, 2008; Zayas, 2011). However, studies also indicate that Latina/o youth’s mental health is also negatively affected by bicultural stress, which includes not only acculturative stress, but also stress from maintaining their ethnic culture (e.g. language, norms, values) Castillo, Cano, Chen, Blucker, & Olds, 2008; Forster et al., 2014; La Fromboise, Coleman & Gerton, 1993). We have several manuscripts that we are working on to analyze the impact of bicultural stress in relation to health and educational outcomes. We are primarily using existing datasets for these analyses.
Romero, A. “Living in Two Cultures: Implications for Latinio Adolescent Health” FMI Family Link.
Romero, A. “Mental health of Latina girls and teens: Gender, peer, family & culture” Presentation to the Girl’s and Women’s Health Across the Lifespan Conference. Arizona Department of Health Services.
Romero, A. “A Pilot test of the Latin Active hip hop intervention to increase physical activity among low-income Mexican American adolescents” Webinar American Journal of Health Promotion.
Romero, A.“Leader in Ethnic Studies to Speak at University o f Washington”
“Why do Latinas have the highest suicide rate in America?” Cosmo for Latinas.
Student Presentations at National Conferences
Jose Rodas “Influence of Parental Fear on Children’s Loss of Language on Familism”
Jose Rodas “Parental Fear of Children’s Loss of Language and Familism”
Estrella Ochoa “The Role of Caring Adults in Moderating Effects of Bicultural Stress on Academic Aspirations”