Linda Halgunseth

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?

In graduate school, I read Raymond Buriel’s work on parenting and child development in Mexican immigrant families, and I remember feeling excited because I could see my Mexican immigrant mothers’ parenting and my experiences being raised by her reflected in his work. It inspired me to conduct research that continues to provide insight into the Mexican and U.S. Mexican parent-child relationship context


Research Spotlight:

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

We found that low-income, Mexican immigrant mothers of children ages 6-10 used parenting terminology that are not often used in self-report parenting measures. To express warmth (cariño), the mothers explained that they used nombres cariñosos and felicitaciones; when talking about physical punishment, they differentiated between pegados and nalgadas, the former being more severe and less preferred than the latter. Half of the mothers believed that nalgadas was necessary to “educa a los ninos” while the other half did not endorse the spanking of children.

Link to Halgunseth & Ispa (2012)

Describe its importance from any one or more of these lenses: a) research contribution; b) our knowledge about Latino youth and families; c) our knowledge about child development generally; d) practice or policy relevance.

These preliminary findings may inform the development of culturally relevant items for self-report parenting measures used with Mexican immigrant mothers. The validity of the field’s research findings on Mexican immigrant parenting are only as culturally valid as our measures. Translating existing self-report parenting measures based on Euro-American parenting into Spanish may not capture the parent-child relationship context in Mexican or U.S. Mexican immigrant families.

Upcoming publications we should know about?

My upcoming research focuses on the guidance immigrant parents (and others) provide to children of immigrants when they become victims of immigrant bullying in schools. My goal is to provide education and support to immigrant parents so they can better advocate and protect their children. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Alaina Brenick.

Reflections on Latino Caucus Experiences

Finally, we asked about experiences with the SRCD Latino Caucus: Why is the caucus important and/or your views on the role of the Latino Caucus vis-à-vis SRCD, research on child development, policy/practice.

SRCD Latino Caucus has supported my career in many ways. It has provided a strong group identity within SRCD and SRCD conferences that has not only raised visibility of research on Latino families, but has supported the growth of my identity as a Latina researcher, as well. The Caucus has offered me opportunities to run for leadership positions. Before running for Chair Elect, I use to admire senior Latino/a researchers from a far through reading their articles and attending their symposiums. Now, I am able to meet and work side-by-side on a regular basis with top researchers who feel just as passionate about supporting healthy Latino child and family development. It feels great to be a part of a Caucus who works so hard to put into practice their mission.




« Back to Member Spotlights