Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Teenage immigrants-United States-Psychology, Liminality, Hispanic American teenagers-Psychology, Hispanic American teenagers-Cultural assimilation, South Americans-Cultural assimilation-United States, South American adolescents, Immigration, Acculturation, Assimilation, Adolescence


This qualitative, retrospective study aimed to explore the ways in which South American Latino Adolescents navigated through a dual liminal space (e.i developmental and cultural) post immigration. In other words, this study explored the intersection of the experience of being an adolescent and an immigrant in the United States. The research question for this exploratory study was: How do South American Latino adolescents move through the cultural and developmental liminal spaces post immigration? The sample for this study included 12 South American Latino immigrants who came to the United States during their adolescence, and have been in the country for over four years. Open-ended Interviews were conducted in order to gather data in the form of stories from the participants. Data was analyzed by looking for recurrent themes in participants' narratives. The findings of this study showed that a variety of socio-economic factors (e.i acquisition of household responsibilities and financial responsibilities) changed participants' perceived developmental life stage from adolescents to young adults. In addition, these socio-economic changes post immigration also impacted family dynamics including gender-related roles and ways of relating between members. Cultural negotiations were also recurrent in participants' narratives as a form to described daily interactions with the broader society. The experiences being an adolescent in a foreign country were marked by the sense of uncertainty, trapped between and betwixt or liminality confirming previous literature on this topic (Turner, 1976).




91 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 82-84)