"Ethnic Cultural Features in Organized Activities: Relations to Latino Adolescents’ Activity Experiences"
Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Biennial Meeting
April 12-14, 2018
Presentation Title: "Ethnic Cultural Features in Organized Activities: Relations to Latino Adolescents’ Activity Experiences" (poster)
Authors: Yangyang Liu, Sandra Simpkins, Alex Lin (alumnus)
As organized activities serve an increasingly ethnically diverse youth population in the U.S., there is growing consensus among scholars that activities should be sensitive to participants’ ethnic culture to be effective (Eccles & Gootman, 2002). According to the theoretical framework for designing culturally responsive activities, youth’s everyday experiences of their ethnic culture should be incorporated into the programming, and the interpersonal interactions in organized activities (Simpkins et al., 2017). However, little empirical work examines ethnic cultural features of organized activities across diverse activities and how they are related to ethnic minority youth’s activity experiences. In this study, we investigated ethnic cultural features in Latino adolescents’ organized activities in terms of: 1) the implicit and explicit ways their ethnic culture is taught (i.e., ethnic cultural content; Umaña-Taylor, 2001); and 2) the extent adolescents feel their ethnic cultural background is respected (i.e., ethnic cultural respect). We aim to address the following two questions: 1) Do adolescents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural features vary across activity type?, and 2) What is the relation between Latino adolescents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural features and their experiences in the activity?
Methods. Participants included 154 7th grade Latino adolescents (84% U.S. born, 59% female, 72% bilingual) in a large metropolitan city in the southwest of the U.S. Latino adolescents in the sample represented four activity types, including sports (29%; e.g., basketball), arts (38%; e.g., drama), club activities (14%; e.g., book club), and community-based activities (18%; e.g., church). Adolescents reported their perceptions of ethnic cultural content (4 items; e.g., “The activity leaders teach about ethnic or cultural background”; =.75), and ethnic cultural respect (3 items; e.g., “The activity leaders are flexible when I have family obligations or events related to my ethnic or cultural background”; =.79) in organized activities. Adolescents also reported on their activity experiences including positive/negative feelings (3-7 items; e.g., “I feel happy/bored in this activity”; =.52-.76; Shernoff & Vandell, 2007), psychological engagement (6 items; e.g., “I feel challenged in a good way in this activity”; =.61; Moore & Hansen, 2012), and perceived discrimination from leaders and peers (5-6 items; e.g., “The kids/leaders at your activity call me names because of my ethnicity”; =.90-.93; Johnston & Delgado, 2004).
Results and Discussions. There were no statistically significant differences in adolescents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural content or ethnic cultural respect across activity type (Table 1). In the regression analysis, perceptions of respect towards one’s ethnic cultural background were associated with more positive feelings, higher levels of psychological engagement, and less perceived discrimination from leaders and peers (Table 2). However, adolescents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural content were associated with more negative feelings. Together with previous qualitative work on youth programs (Deutsch & Jones, 2008), our findings indicate the importance of respect for Latino adolescents’ activity experiences. Our findings on ethnic cultural content suggest that future work should explore the quality of how ethnic cultural content is presented in organized activities as the way ethnic cultural content is delivered might make a difference in the experiences of diverse youth.