Carlos E. Santos

Personal Spotlight:

We asked scholars to describe some of the following questions: What drew you to do work on Latino youth and families, or another topic that is important to you now? Who was an important mentor to you in this work, or was there a particularly influential study in the field or in a related field?

My research is broadly concerned with understanding the development of multiple social identities (e.g., ethnic-racial, gender and sexual minority identity) during adolescence and young adulthood and systemic oppressions and affordances associated with these identities (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism) in relation to adjustment, particularly among Latinx youth and young adults. From the moment I arrived in this country, I was provided a new identity label as Latinx during adolescence. I also started making sense of my sexuality as a gay man. These experiences made me intensely interested in identity development and progressively interested in the intersections of multiple social identities. During graduate school and during my post-doc years, I was fortunate to count on several mentors who helped me develop these interests including: Niobe Way, Adriana Umaña-Taylor, Kimberly Updegraff, Cecilia Menjivar, among others. My recommendation for someone starting out in the field who is interested in identity and related oppressions (and affordances) is to blend research methodologies to consider both the lived experience as well as more easily quantified processes related to identity development.

Research Spotlight:

We invited scholars to describe a recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes them excited about it. 

There are various projects I’m excited about but a few projects I’ve completed with special relevance to the Caucus include a study of how youths’ awareness of immigration laws impacts the educational adjustment of Latinx youth. We report that in a study of middle school Latinx youth in Arizona who were predominantly U.S. born, Latino youth’s awareness of the state’s controversial and immigrant hostile immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, was associated with poor regulation in the classroom in later years. There are many exciting things about this study: 1) it adds the important perspective of youth to studies on laws and policies, 2) it shows that policies and laws have the potential to influence youths’ lives, and 3) immigrant-hostile policies and its impact on immigrants impact individuals far beyond those who are purportedly the target (i.e., the undocumented) as individuals who are documented and undocumented co-exist in the same communities and often even families.

Are there any upcoming publications we should know about?

I am currently involved in various efforts associated with interpreting the framework of intersectionality to the psychological sciences, including a recently co-edited special section on the applications of intersectionality to counseling psychology research recently published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, and another on intersectionality applications to research in developmental psychology to be published in a new issue of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. I am also the co-editor with Adriana Umaña-Taylor of a book on studying ethnic identity from diverse methodological and disciplinary perspectives published by American Psychological Association Press.




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