The impact of home–school cultural value conflicts and President Trump on Latina/o first‐generation college students' attentional control

Yolanda Vasquez‐Salgado, Gerardo Ramirez, Patricia M. Greenfield
Published Online:
21 Jun 2018
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 53 Issue S2

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Around the world, people migrate from poorer countries with less educational opportunity to richer ones with greater educational opportunity. In this journey, they bring their family obligation values into societies that value individual achievement. This process can create home–school cultural value conflict—conflict between family and academic obligations—for the children of Latina/o immigrants who attend universities in the United States. We hypothesised that this conflict causes cognitive disruption. One‐hundred sixty‐one Latina/o first‐generation university students (called college students in the United States) were randomly assigned to one of four experimental prompts; thereafter, the students engaged in an attentional control task (i.e., the Stroop test). For Latina/o students living close to home, prompting a home–school cultural value conflict was more deleterious to attentional control than the other conditions. In addition, across all Latina/o students, a comparison of performance before and after President Trump's election and inauguration showed that prompting family obligation (without mention of conflict) led to a significantly greater loss of attentional control after Trump was elected and inaugurated, compared with before Trump. We hypothesise that this effect resulted from Trump's threats and actions to deport undocumented Latina/o immigrants, thus making fear about the fate of family members more salient and cognitively disruptive.

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