Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tracey Phillips


AbstractThe process of English language learning (ELL) is a phenomenon, within the acculturation process, that poses challenges for first-generation Latino immigrants and potentially contributes to the susceptibility to acculturative stress. There has been little research on how second language acquisition influences acculturative stress. This study examined the perceptions of the experiences of young adult Latino immigrants who completed an English language learning program in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. A generic qualitative study using face-to-face virtual interviews inquired about first-generation, young adult Latino immigrants’ perceptions of acculturative stress relative to experiences in adult ELL programs. Berry’s model of acculturation guided the study, due to the impact the four categories of acculturation are noted as having on the vulnerability to acculturative stress. The participants included ten Latino/a immigrants between the ages 18-25 years, who have lived in the United States for more than five years. The data analysis resulted in several themes that emerged under four categories: Motivation to learn English proficiently, obstacles to English language learning program completion, challenges as an English language learning immigrant, and experiences of integrating into the U.S. culture. The findings of the research will provide insights into the challenges young adult Latino immigrants encounter during the process of post-migration English language learning and can be beneficial for the development of systems and structures that improve access to programs and resources, as well as improve mental health support for immigrant students.