Publication Date

1-2007

Abstract

The paper explores the question of how Hispanic/Latino identity develops among first-time immigrants to the U.S. living in the Philadelphia area. This exploration was done through an extensive review of the current literature and by carrying out in-depth interviews with six individuals who were at least eighteen years old and diverse in terms of gender and countries of origin. Two important areas explored through the research were the characteristics of Hispanic/Latino identity and how the participants’ identity journeys compare to prevalent theories of ethnic identity development. Phenomenological methodology (Rossman & Rallis, 2003) was used to guide design and analysis decisions. Important findings include the lack of consensus among people who self-identify as Hispanic/Latino on what these terms mean and how to create a common identity. In addition, current models of ethnic identity development for Hispanics/Latinos may not be completely accurate in describing the experience of newly immigrated people, since they lack the complexity to reflect the experience of individuals who continue being engaged with their countries and cultures of origin. Consequently, a new model is proposed that integrates the various possible paths of ethnic identity development for first time Hispanic/Latino immigrants in the U.S. This study can be useful to first-time Hispanic/Latino immigrants to the U.S. as well as to groups and organizations that work with them.

Disciplines

Psychology | Sociology

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