College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Antonio J. Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Joanna Busceni, PhD


A large number of households in the United States include linguistic minority and immigrant parents. These include parents of Latinx backgrounds and their children who have varying levels of English and Spanish proficiency. Research is needed to examine the nature of parent-child language proficiency patterns and differences and their links to family processes and mental health. To address this gap, a sample of 294 Latinx parent-child dyads of predominantly low-income and immigrant backgrounds were interviewed and reported their English and Spanish language proficiency levels. Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) uncovered four parent-child language profiles including three in which there was a language gap (Large English Gap - LEG, Medium English Gap - MEG, and Medium Spanish Gap - MSG) and one in which parent and children matched in their language proficiency (No Language Gap - NLG). Multinomial logistic regression analyses controlling for key demographic variables revealed that youth who reported higher maternal and paternal alienation, lower paternal communication and higher depressive symptoms were more likely to belong to the NLG profile, compared to the LEG profile. Further, youth who reported higher maternal and paternal alienation, and lower maternal trust were more likely to belong to the MSG profile relative to the LEG profile. Findings point to the vital importance of incorporating multiple reporters of language proficiency and the potential protective value of youth Spanish proficiency, in particular.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons