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Friday, March 6 • 1:05pm - 2:05pm
Understanding Latina Experience of Discrimination: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

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Introduction Discrimination against Latinas/o in the U.S. in jobs, education, health care, and everyday life is a serious problem and has deleterious effects on Latina/o health and mental health. A number of predictors of discrimination have been identified, such as language, immigration status, socio-economic status, but few studies have examined Latina women and what variables may be uniquely associated with their perception discrimination. The purpose of this study is to 1) determine, quantitatively, the predictors of perception of discrimination among a sample of Latina college women, focusing on immigrant status, fear of deportation, acculturative stress, and social support; and 2) to investigate, through open-ended interviews, how Latinas explain, interpret, and cope with discrimination in their daily lives. Methods Participants were 107 Latina college students recruited through Internet solicitation to national immigrant student rights organizations, university student organizations, Craigslist, and other pertinent listservs in the Western, Southwestern, and Midwestern United States. Average age was 23.71, sd=4.72; 75% were born in the U.S.; of those born outside the U.S. 63% were born in Mexico. Each participant completed an online questionnaire that measured perception of discrimination, fear of deportation, acculturative stress, peer and family social support, and demographic items, such as age and whether born in the U.S. or not. A series of 6 interviews with Latina college students that investigates their experience of discrimination is underway, but have not yet been completed. However, the results of interviews will be included in the final presentation. Results Hierarchical multiple regression indicate that immigrant status, i.e., immigrant or U.S.-born, and acculturative stress were not significantly related to perception of discrimination; fear of deportation and social support were significantly related to perception of discrimination. The in-depth interviews will provide an interpretive framework for these results and for further understanding the experience of discrimination among Latina women. Discussion Social support appears to buffer against perception of discrimination, while fear of deportation leads a greater perception of discrimination among Latina college students. As the number of Latinas in higher education increases and as they enter the workforce in higher numbers, understanding what factors are related to perception of discrimination becomes vital. Furthermore, how Latinas may explain, experience, and cope with discrimination can provide insight into their vulnerability to discrimination, as well as their resilience and strength in the face of it.

Friday March 6, 2015 1:05pm - 2:05pm PST