Methods: This study draws on youth subsample of parents and youth of African and Asian immigrant families’ study examining contextual factors (e.g., home, and school) that influence the development of these youth. In-depth semi structured interviews of youth (N= 23, 55.6% female, 58% US born, mean age = 15.56, SD= 1.98) of African and Asian immigrant household were used. Research team read transcripts, discussed emerging themes, and generated initial codes to establish a coding structure for analysis.
Findings: From youth perspectives, parents support their ethnic and cultural identities and in turn transnational identity development directly and indirectly via: direct conversations with them about the ethnic and cultural practices of the countries of parents’ origin. These conversations can occur at dinner time or through movies and documentaries or news related to their parents’ country of origin. Indirectly, parents utilize community cultural events such as weddings, religious activities, periodic trips to countries of origin, eating of ethnic food, listening to ethnic music, and frequent communication with family members to support the transnational identity development of youth. Some youth suggested that their parents support their enrollment in online language classes and ethnic and culturally relevant after school programs.
Conclusion and Implications
In liaising with schools, communities and families, School social workers, can promote positive mental health and academic success of youth of African and Asian immigrant origin by supporting their transnational identity development. Through the core value of the importance of human relationships, and cultural humility principles, school social workers can help advocate for school level practices that reduce racialization and stigmatization of these youth, while affirming their ethnic and cultural assets. More specific strategies by which school social workers can support these youth and families will be discussed.