Emerging Adulthood among Latino Americans

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Emerging adulthood is an a new and interesting time for college students in general, but college students who identify as Latinos have different expectations due their culture during this period in their lives. Emerging adulthood is a new stage of development in between adolescence and adulthood from eighteen to twenty five, it consists of five features: age of identity exploration, age of instability, age of self-focus, age of feeling in between, and age of possibilities. Identity exploration is where people are deciding who they are and what they want to do like schooling, career and romantic life.

Instability indicates that they do not know what they want to do after college, when to get married, who to live with and etc. This is the most self focused stage of their lives, it’s all about them, they are controlling who they are going to be and what they want to do. However, they feel in between adolescent and adulthood, they have taken on more responsibility for their life but still have not taken full responsibilities like an adult. They believe anything is possible and will be better off than their parents. This stage only applies to post developed countries such as the West and Europe, not to less developed countries like South and Central America.

When Latinos come to America they bring their unique culture and share their values with their children. In Latino culture there is no concept of emerging adulthood, there is adolescence and then adulthood. Therefore Latino children have a different set of expectations and values for themselves in comparison to their classmates. This is where Latinos are in duality; their culture expects them to take full responsibility for their lives like an adult while American society expects them to be in “Emerging Adulthood”. There is not much information about Latinos in the emerging adulthood stage in America.

Therefore, it makes it hard to fully understand how Latinos navigate this stage. The data we have collected suggests that people who identify as Latino take on adult responsibilities earlier due to familism values. Stein, Gabriela L., Deborah Rivas-Drake, and Tissyana C. Camacho state “Familism values dictate expectations of family cohesion, loyalty, support, respect, and obligation” (Pg. 1). The Latino identity is heavily tied with Familism, the expectation for Latinos will create conflict with emerging adulthood. Both can not exist at the same time because Latinos have to act and be adults to up hold Familism values.

They have to understand their actions have an impact on people around them and more importantly their families. While emerging adulthood is a time for people to explore themselves, Latinos have to balance exploration and hold themselves to a higher standard in comparison to their classmates. Stein, Rivas-Drake and Camacho find that it can be more difficult for White Latinos , “Results indicate that students who self-labeled as White in the T1 survey (but had self-identified as Hispanic when enrolling in the university) reported significantly lower centrality, private regard, familism respect, and familism obligation, as compared to their peers who identified with any national origin” (pg. 6).

White Latinos have been able to conform to the common white culture and fully embracing emerging adulthood which has made it easier for them to fit in and adhere to those set of expectations. The Latino identity is being discarded due to College students feeling left out of emerging adulthood. While college students who identify as Latinos “felt it was important to consider their families when making individual decisions and continue to demonstrate respect for their wishes even when outside of the home. In addition, these students felt it was important to provide future economic assistance to their family, spend significant time with their families, and help care for siblings in the future” (pg. 7).

The Latino identity does not embrace emerging adulthood to its fullest potential for they are primarily expected to take on adult responsibilities and expectations. They do not resonate with emerging adulthood. Stein, Rivas-Drake and Camacho predict that “their ethnic identity serves to foster a greater appreciation of the values that make them uniquely Latino, subsequently leading to increases in these values over time” (pg. 7). The Latino identity is rooted in values found in adulthood, when a student self identifies as a Latino, hispanic, or Latina, they will not part take in all of the wonder of emerging adulthood.

The study done by Stein, Rivas-Drake and Camacho was a case study that followed Latinos in their higher education years. Case studies are great for understanding how the Latino identity and emerging adulthood interact, we get concise information regarding a very specific group. I understand case studies are timely and require lots of resources but I would love to see how Machismo, a construct in the Latin male identity, interacts and co-exists with those students in the emerging adulthood stage. Miguel Arciniega and Thomas C. Anderson have supported that Machismo is a two dimensional construct consisting of Traditional Machismo and Caballerismo,“The factor analyses (both exploratory and confirmatory) indicated two independent dimensions of Machismo, which were labeled as Traditional Machismo and Caballerismo.

Traditional Machismo can be described as aggressive, sexist, chauvinistic, and hypermasculine, whereas Caballerismo can be described as nurturing, family centered, and chivalrous” (pg. 11). Their findings have supported that the majority of Latino males are practicing Caballerismo, which would align with Familism. I would love to know if this is due to their identity and the values that come with it or, more importantly, how these values and constructs interact with emerging adulthood. These questions are important to answer because it will help us understand how America’s future generations will look like and develop. This will promote better understanding for how our society interacts with itself.


Cite this paper

Emerging Adulthood among Latino Americans. (2021, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/emerging-adulthood-among-latino-americans/

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