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Study Design

Between September 2006 and April 2007, the Southern Immigrant Academic Adaptation Study (SIAA) collected data from 239 Latino 9th grade students in North Carolina. Because schools and students participating in this study were randomly selected, results can be generalized to 9th grade Latino youth enrolled in high schools in North Carolina during the 2006-2007 academic year.

To ensure economic variation in the communities in which Latino youth live, high schools with at least 24 Latino students enrolled in 9th grade in 2000 were stratified into two groups-urban and rural. Urban high schools were defined as high schools serving counties where over 50% of the population was living inside an urbanized area or urban cluster. Rural high schools were defined as serving counties where 50% or less of the population lived in an urbanized area or urban cluster. Four high schools from the urban stratum and five high schools from the rural stratum were selected using a probability proportional to the number of 9th grade Latino students in each county. After receiving active consent from parents, all students in the school who self-identified as Hispanic or Latino were recruited. All students received a $15 thank-you gift for their participation in the study.

The students in the study completed a baseline questionnaire, a take-home questionnaire, and 14 daily diary checklists. The two questionnaires gathered information regarding the students' immigration histories, socioeconomic backgrounds, language use, family relationships, cultural and ethnic identifications, educational attitudes, and physical and mental health. The daily diary checklists were used to study how students adapt to various challenges and stressors in their everyday lives.

In addition to completing questionnaires and daily diaries, 18 students and their primary caregivers (mostly mothers) completed in-depth personal interviews. In-depth personal interviews were conducted with 2 students (a boy and girl) from each school. The mothers of these students were also interviewed. Since the purpose of the interviews was to gather contextual information about the immigrant experience, third generation students (defined as both the parent and child being U.S. born) were not selected for these in-depth interviews. All participants in these interviews received an additional $15 thank-you gift.

Finally, focus groups with teachers and non_Latino students and parents were conducted in 2 rural and 2 urban schools. These focus groups provided additional information on the school and community contexts.